British No.1 Alfie Hewett showed he is in impressive form heading towards the season climax at the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters later this month when winning the Bath Indoor men’s singles title on Saturday.
Hewett defeated Wimbledon champion Stefan Olsson of Sweden 6-0, 6-4, to join Diede de Groot of the Netherlands and the USA’s David Wager in claiming singles titles at the latest tournament on the ITF’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.
Just two days after battling back from a set and 2-0 down to win his quarter-final against Belgium’s two-time NEC Masters champion Joachim Gerard, world No.3 and Roland Garros champion Hewett served up a bagel of his own in the first set against Olsson and then bounced back from 4-2 down to wrap up his third singles title of 2017.
“I’ve taken time off to train and work really hard since reaching the US Open final a couple of months ago and to perform the way I have this week is really pleasing. This is probably the best match I’ve played all week. So it’s good to see myself progressing heading into Doubles Masters next week and it’s a great confidence boost ahead of the NEC Masters the week after,” said 19-year-old Hewett.
“It was a good first set from me. I was solid, but I knew Stefan would come back and I won a crucial game at 4-2 down to hold and then I was back in the match.”
Following Hewett on court, world No.2 de Groot won her second Bath Indoor women’s singles title, beating Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock 6-1, 6-2. Meanwhile the USA’s David Wagner claimed Friday’s quad singles final as the world No.1 prevailed against Rio Paralympic champion Dylan Alcott of Australia 6-1, 0-6, 6-4.
The penultimate British-based tournament of the year, organised by the Tennis Foundation, came to an end at the University of Bath Sports Training Village with a double British success, with Hewett’s win adding to British No.1 Lucy Shuker’s doubles win on Friday. Shuker partnered de Groot to victory as the duo successfully defended their women’s doubles title, beating Marjolein Buis and Ellerbrock 6-0, 7-5.
Hewett and Shuker are two of five Brits heading to the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, the year-end singles championship for the world’s top players, which takes place at Loughborough Sport Tennis Centre on 29 November to 3 December. The full field of 22 NEC Masters players also includes de Groot and Wagner.
After winning his eleventh quad singles title of the season in Bath, Wagner will now bid for an unprecedented tenth NEC Masters title in Loughborough as he attempts to fend off the challenge of Britain’s world No.2 Andy Lapthorne for the year-end quad No.1 ranking.
Gerard and Olsson are among the former NEC Masters champions bidding for the men’s title at this year’s event and they signed off in style at Bath Indoor, retaining their men’s doubles title with a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over South Africa’s Evans Maripa and Japan’s Takashi Sanada.
The quad doubles title went to second seeds Ymanitu Silva of Brazil and South Africa’s Lucas Sithole.
The Tennis Foundation is Great Britain’s leading tennis charity, with a vision to make tennis a sport which is inclusive and accessible to all. It works to open up tennis to its priority audiences of disabled people, young people in education and in lower socio-economic communities – making it possible for them to enjoy the many health and social benefits of the sport whilst maximising their personal potential. Alongside the elite competition in Bath, the Tennis Foundation hosted a ‘come and try’ wheelchair tennis event, people the chance to try the sport for the first time.
Fans can see the final singles tournament of the year with tickets for the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters available from www.wheelchairtennismasters.com, priced £8 for adults, half price concessions and just £1 for children, while the event will also be streamed live. The event is an ideal day out for families, schools and community groups and will include a fun activity zone for children and adults alike to give tennis a go.