SEPTEMBER 13 - BRITAIN's Peter Norfolk and Jamie Burdekin (pictured) won bronze Paralympic Games wheelchair tennis quad doubles after a dramatic three-set play-off against the Dutch pair of Dorrie Timmermans-Van Hall and Bas Van Erp in Beijing tonight.
Burdekin and Norfolk came from a set down to win 6-7(4/7), 7-4, 6-1 and clinch the first of two possible tennis medals for Britain.
Burdekin, a friend of Liverpool footballer Jamie Carragher, said: “This is one of the best nights of my life.
“I wouldn’t have been allowed to go back to Liverpool if I hadn’t won a medal.
“Now I’m made up I’m going home with a medal.
"That was the goal.”
The pair came to Beijing as second seeds, but they had to recover from the disappointment of losing their semi-final on Thursday.
They took a 2-0 lead at the start of the bronze medal match but their opponents broke back immediately and after some tense exchanges it was the Dutch who took the set in a tie-break as Timmermans replied to a Norfolk dropshot with a backhand winner.
The second set was equally tight with numerous long games and some breath-taking rallies. Burdekin and Norfolk made the first move going 5-3 ahead, only for Timmermans and Van Erp to level the set.
This British duo made the most of their opportunity and eventually clinched it with the rally of the match to take the contest to a deciding set.
With the momentum now in their favour, Burdekin and Norfolk raced to a 5-1 lead in the third set, but needed three set points to finally land the spoils.
Burdekin delivered a looping forehand to bring up the third match point and then hit an exquisite short cross-court drop shot to seal victory after two hours 48 minutes.
Norfolk, 47, said: “It was certainly a tough match.
"But we’ve had it tough for the last year.
“We’ve both had injuries so we haven’t played many tournaments and there was a lot of pressure to perform.
“It’s Jamie’s first Paralympics and he has been unbelievable.
"I’m an old hand but there have been times when I have got a bit down and he has kept me going.”
Burdekin said: “It’s an honour to be on the same court as Peter.
"He may be older but I can’t keep up.
“I had an all right game, a bit up and down, but all in all we deserved this medal.
"It feels like a gold to me.”
Norfolk will now aim for his second successive quad singles title when he takes on Sweden’s fourth seed Johan Andersson tomorrow.
The Hampshire player said: “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.
“It’s a bit of a surprise to be playing Johan but it will be an interesting match.”