Alfie Hewett’s renowned powers of recovery once again came to the fore on Friday in New York when the British No.1 beat Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 7-5, 6-4 to reach his second successive men’s singles wheelchair tennis semi-final at the US Open.
Hewett later partnered Gordon Reid to reach their second straight men’s doubles final at the last Grand Slam of the year, while fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne kept alive his ambitions of reaching a second successive quad singles final after two round-robin matches in a day in New York.
Saturday’s schedule in New York not only sees Hewett and Reid in the men’s doubles final, but also Lapthorne in the quad doubles final, partnering the USA’s David Wagner.
World No.2 Hewett recovered from 5-2 down in the first set and 4-1 down in the second set to defeat world No.6 Gerard and set up his singles semi-final against Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez, the player Hewett famously beat in the 2017 Roland Garros final after being a set and 2-0 down.
“I’m very happy to win my first match here in New York. 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,” said Hewett.
While Reid led Fernandez 4-2 in the second set of their men’s singles quarter-final, the Rio Paralympic champion was unable to set up what would have been a second all-Brit US Open singles semi-final against Hewett and Fernandez ultimately closed out a 6-1, 6-4 win.
However, fortunes were reversed in the men’s doubles semi-finals as Hewett and Reid extended their unbeaten record against Fernandez and Shingo Kunieda of Japan in Grand Slam semi-finals to five matches.
Having won a gruelling first set 7-5 on Thursday before rain caused play to be suspended, Hewett and Reid made a quick start to Friday’s deciding match tie-break, opening up a 4-0 lead before finally wrapping up victory 7-5, 4-6, (10-6) after two hours and 33 minutes.
“It feels great to be in the final here again with Alfie. Today was about winning ugly after a long delay from yesterday’s first set. We’ll be looking to up the quality in the final tomorrow against the French,” said Reid as he and Hewett prepare to play top seeds Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer for the US Open tile for the second year in a row.
Lapthorne opened his quad singles challenge with a rematch of the 2017 final against world No.1 David Wagner, but although Lapthorne led briefly in the second set Wagner proved the better player on the day to win 6-2, 6-4.
With Thursday’s rain meaning that the quad singles round-robin matches were prevented from getting underway, 2014 US Open champion Lapthorne had a second match to play on Friday and this time he emerged victorious. The world No.3 extended his unbeaten career record against American world No.7 Bryan Barten with a 6-1, 6-4 win in exactly an hour.
“It’s great to end the day with a straight sets win and I’m very much looking forward to a new challenge tomorrow, as well as the doubles final, when me and David will be hoping to defend the title,” said Lapthorne, who plays Australia’s wold No.2 Dylan Alcott in his remaining singles round-robin match
Meanwhile, Saturday’s schedule in New York also sees Lapthorne pair up with Wagner for the quad doubles decider as the duo play Alcott and Barten in an attempt to retain the US Open title they won for the first time together last year.
World No.8 Lucy Shuker opened her latest US Open campaign against South Africa’s world No.6 Kgothatso Montjane, but despite a typically resilient performance from Shuker, Montjane gained a narrow 6-4, 6-4 win in their women’s singles quarter-final.
A second successive Grand Slam doubles final also proved elusive for Shuker and Germany’s Sabine Ellerbrock. In a rematch of their Wimbledon final against top seeds Diede de Groot and Yui Kamiji, the Dutch-Japanese duo won 6-0, 6-0.