Colin Fleming and Jocelyn Rae won Team Scotland’s third gold medal of the XIX Commonwealth Games today, completing a truly remarkable fightback to beat the Australian top seeds Paul Hanley and Anastasia Rodionova to win the mixed doubles at the R.K. Khanna tennis complex.
A vocal crowd in the Centre Court arena cheered the unseeded Scottish pair to victory as they ousted their opponents 7-6 (9-7) 6-7 (2-7) 6-2 to become the first ever mixed doubles tennis champions in Commonwealth Games competition.
It means that 26 year old Fleming and 19 year old Rae have beaten the first, second and fourth seeds on their way to the gold medal, a fantastic achievement for two players who had never played competitive tennis together before the start of the Games.
In the first set the Aussies came out swinging, never letting the Scots settle and racing into a 4-0 lead. It seemed like the set was all but over for the Scots, but from that point on they staged an incredible comeback, sticking to their task under a huge amount of pressure.
They fought back to 4-2 before Rae held her service game to make the score 4-3, in the process showing impressive maturity to hold her nerve to save five break points. The Aussies then went 5-3 up and the Scots were barely clinging on, with Fleming and Rae saving four set points over the next two games to bring the score level at 5-5. Two games later at 6-6, the set went into a tie-break which the Scots won 9-7 after saving yet another two set points.
Once again the Aussies made the better start in the second set, going into a 3-1 lead before some determined play from the Scots brought the score level at 3-3. From there the remainder of the set was a tight affair, going to another tie break which Hanley and Rodionova won 7-2 to level the match at one set all.
In the final set it was Fleming and Rae who made the better start. As the crowd cheered them on they stamped their authority on the set and raced into a 3-0 lead. From there on they never looked back and as the clock pushed past midnight, after two hours 23 minutes of play the Scots closed out the set 6-2 to claim the mixed doubles title and the gold medal.
After the match Fleming said: “To have won a gold medal is amazing. We came here to represent Scotland as well as we could and to win the gold medal as well is a fantastic feeling. We knew we had a good team and everyone knew we were capable of winning a medal. They just couldn’t be happier that it’s us.
“We made a horrible start to the match tonight and we didn’t play as well as we have before but we fought hard and really worked together as a team. Joss was amazing again tonight with some of the shots she was coming up with.”
Rae agreed, saying: “It was amazing playing with Colin again and we’ve really gelled together. We’ve had difficult matches all the way through the competition but we’ve supported each other and kept each other positive.
“It was a lot of fun out there and the crowd were amazing again – they really got behind us. This is definitely the highlight of my career so far.”