In this weekly feature we’ll round up the results from our British wheelchair tennis stars competing around the globe.
— Alfie Hewett (@alfiehewett6) April 3, 2016
Week 12 – Open Amphion Publier (ITF 3 Series)
With only two Brits in action last week, we’ll quickly summarise their efforts before moving on to a slighter busier Week 13.
In the Women’s Singles, Lauren Jones was the sole British representative and she made short work of Carole Coutenson in the first round. This was little surprise considering there was a swing of 99 places between them in the rankings.
In the quarter-final the 20-year-old found herself against experienced Spaniard Lola Ochoa. Despite a strong start from the Brit, age and experience came to the fore, with the Spaniard recovering from losing the first set 6-3 to win 6-2 6-0 and move into the semi-finals.
On the men’s side of the draw, Dermot Bailey make the journey to France. He must have wondered why he bothered though as he was drawn against serial Brit-botherer Daniel Caverzaschi in the opening round. The Spaniard entered the tournament with 15 wins from his last 16 matches and extended that to 19 from 20 as he dispatched Dermot before marching on to claim his fourth title of the year. Dermot went on to win the consolation draw.
Week 13 – ACSA Open (ITF 1 Series)
Let’s just say it from the outset – this was the best tournament of Alfie Hewett’s young career. The youngster joined a 32-strong field in this Series 1 event and in the first round came up against local South African, Alwande Skhosana. Alfie was in no mood to mess around though and annihilated his opponent 6-0 6-0.
This victory earned him a second round tie with Gordon Reid’s current doubles partner and high-flying Swede Stefan Olsson. The pair have met just once before, with the Swede winning by a comfortable margin. However, the 18-year-old Brit demonstrated the improvements in his game as he upset the Swede 6-4 6-2.
Commonly in Wheelchair tennis, tournaments tend to conform to seedings. Whilst this was superb that Alfie managed to upset the applecart, it did mean that in the quarters he was up against another seed, this time in the form of Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo. Confidence was high after his previous upset and Alfie again claimed a straight sets victory, this time winning 6-4 6-4.
This set up a semi-final date with World #3 Nicolas Peifer. Alfie had beaten Peifer way back in October 2014, but during their last two encounters he had won a combined three games. Things looked to be heading in the same direction as he slipped to a 4-1 deficit in the opening set. However, the Brit turned things around and edged the match 7-5 7-6(2) to progress to his first ITF 1 Series final.
Unfortunately for Alfie it was third time lucky for the French, as after dispatching two of them he could not make it a hat-trick. World #1, Stephane Houdet, faced him on the opposite side of the net and he simply had too much experience and quality for the young Brit, claiming the title with a 6-3 6-3 victory. Nevertheless, this week marks a huge stepping stone for Alfie who moved up to #13 in the world as well as reaching the doubles semi-finals alongside Takashi Sanada.
For the second week in a row there was just one representative in both the men’s and women’s draws and this week it was Lucy Shuker flying the flag for the Brits. Lucy received a bye through the first round and then comfortably defeated American Dana Mathewson to book her place in the quarter-finals. However, it was there that the sixth seed met her match as she drew the top seed Jiske Griffioen. The Dutch lady did not need long to progress to the semi-final, defeating Lucy 6-1 6-2.
Lucy also lived up to her seeding in the doubles, where she reached the semi-finals as the third seeds before falling to second seeds Marjolein Buis and You Kamiji.
Last week’s tournament in South Africa was just a warm up event for this week’s Super Series event. Lucy and Alfie will be back in action but this week they will be joined by a handful of familiar British faces at the tip of the African peninsula.