Alfie Hewett makes history with maiden British Open singles title
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Alfie Hewett produced a devastating display of tennis on Sunday to become the first Brit to lift the men’s singles title at the British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships at Nottingham Tennis Centre.
At the end of a weekend that saw players on the LTA’s Wheelchair Performance Pathway contest five of a possible six finals in the championship events, world No. 2 Hewett beat Japan’s world No.1 and seven-time British Open champion Shingo Kunieda 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 10 minutes.
Hewett, who was contesting a second British Open men’s singles final since 2017 and ended this year’s event as singles and doubles champion for the first time, said:
“It’s great, I can’t believe how well I played, to be honest. I’ve had a great week, played really strong in other matches, but to come out and do it in the final against Shingo, who’s an incredible player and makes it really difficult for you, I’m just really amazed how well I played. Both of us played probably some of our best tennis, but I put the pressure on him right from the very first point served.
“I’d seen some of the tweets going around before the final, so I felt a little bit of pressure today coming on court. It’s my second time being in a British Open final, so I wanted to rewrite history and become the first British men’s player to win here in the event’s 31 years.”
Hewett could do little wrong in the first set, firing down successive aces to open up a 5-0 lead and he continued his dominance to take a 4-0 lead in the second set.
A resilient Kunieda, who won his seventh British Open title in 2019, made Hewett work for his history-making victory and saved three match points as the 23-year-old Brit served for the match at 5-3. But his efforts were to no avail as Hewett wrapped up his fourth singles title of 2021.
Hewett added: “The next one is Tokyo (Paralympics), which will be exciting and this is a good one to finish on before heading there.”
Twelve-time Grand Slam doubles champions Hewett and Gordon Reid sealed their second British Open men’s doubles title on Saturday’s penultimate day of play in Nottingham after beating French second seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer 6-2, 6-3.
While Hewett and Reid followed up their maiden victory in 2015, fellow Brits Antony Cotterill and Andy Lapthorne finished runners-up to Dutch top seeds Sam Schroder and Niels Vink in the quad doubles final, with Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley also finishing runners-up to Dutch top seeds Diede de Groot and Aniek van Koot in the women’s doubles final.
Third seed Whiley returned to court on Sunday to face world No.1 De Groot in the women’s singles final, but despite playing some exceptional tennis the world No.4 could not secure her third British Open title and instead it was De Groot who completed her hat-trick 6-2, 6-4.
Top seed and world No.2 Schroder claimed his maiden British Open quad singles title, beating countryman and 2019 champion Vink 6-4, 6-3.
2021 British Open Wheelchair Tennis Championships - Winners
- Men's Singles: Alfie Hewett (GBR)
- Women's Singles: Diede de Groot (NED)
- Quad Singles: Sam Schroder (NED)
- Junior Boys Singles: Ben Bartram (GBR)
- Junior Girls Singles: Ruby Bishop (GBR)
- Men's Doubles: Alfie Hewett & Gordon Reid (GBR)
- Women's Doubles: Diede de Groot & Aniek van Koot (NED)
- Quad Doubles: Sam Schroder & Niels Vink (NED)
- Junior Boys Doubles: Ben Bartram & Dahnon Ward (GBR)
- Junior Mixed Doubles: Ben Bartram & Ruby Bishop (GBR)