7 September 2018
Hewett ready for battle on super Saturday at the US Open
Alfie Hewett is preparing for what could be a super Saturday at the US Open and the wheelchair tennis star claims he is ready for the fight.
Hewett faces a men’s singles semi-final against Gustavo Fernandez in New York – the second match on court 11, with play starting at 5pm UK time – before teaming with fellow Brit Gordon Reid for the men’s doubles final on Louis Armstrong, one of the show courts at Flushing Meadows.
That doubles clash is a rematch of last year’s final against Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer of France – and Hewett and Reid will be hoping for a repeat result, as they prevailed in straight sets 12 months ago.
The British duo completed their delayed semi-final against Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda late on Friday, triumphing 7-5, 4-6, 10-6 to give them a shot at a second consecutive grand slam title, having won their third Wimbledon doubles crown in as many years earlier this summer.
Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid fistbump
In the singles quarter-finals on Friday, Hewett demonstrated his remarkable on-court resilience as he recovered from 5-2 down in the first set and 4-1 down in the second to defeat Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 7-5, 6-4.
That booked the first of two Saturday clashes against Argentina’s Fernandez and Hewett was pleased to show his battling qualities.
“I’m very happy to win my first match here in New York,” he said. “Jo came out and played some aggressive tennis but for me to stick in there and trust what I was trying is something I’m proud of.
“I didn’t panic and kept working the court.
To go into Saturday with the singles semi-final and doubles final is very exciting and I’m very much looking forward to battling again.
Having won a hard-fought first set 7-5 on Thursday before play was suspended, Hewett and Reid promptly lost the second set of their doubles semi-final 6-4 to Fernandez and Kunieda 24 hours later.
But they raced into a 4-0 lead in the deciding match tie-break before wrapping up victory 10-6 in a little over two-and-a-half hours – leaving Reid relieved to get over the line.
“It feels great to be in the final here again with Alfie,” said Reid. “It was about winning ugly after a long delay from Thursday’s first set.
“We’ll be looking to up the quality in the final against the French.”
Reigning Paralympic champion Reid missed the chance to set up an all-British semi-final in the men’s singles as he went down 6-1, 6-4 to Fernandez in the last eight.
Thursday was also a mixed day for Andy Lapthorne as he lost his opening match of the quad singles round robin 6-2, 6-4 to number one seed David Wagner but bounced back to beat another American, Bryan Barten, 6-1, 6-4 later in the day and keep his hopes of reaching the final alive.
Andy Lapthorne stretches to reach the ball
To stand a chance of doing so, he must beat second seed Dylan Alcott of Australia at 5pm before the wheelchair quad doubles final later in the day pits him and Wagner against Alcott and Barten, with the British-American pair seeking to defend the title they won for the first time in 2017.
Lapthorne said: “It’s great to end the day with a straight-sets win (against Barten) and I’m very much looking forward to a new challenge on Saturday, as well as the doubles final, when me and David will be hoping to defend the title.”
Unfortunately, Lucy Shuker’s US Open challenge is over after she suffered a narrow 6-4, 6-4 loss to Kgothatso Montjane of South Africa in the women’s singles quarter-finals, while a rematch of the Wimbledon final in the women’s doubles semi-finals saw top seeds Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji beat Shuker and Sabine Ellerbrock 6-0, 6-0.
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