Alfie Hewett claimed his first title of 2017 with victory in the men’s doubles at the ITF 2 Series Melbourne Open on Saturday, while Gordon Reid also completed his preparations for the Australian Open by finishing runner-up in the men’s singles.
After finishing doubles runner-up with Reid in Sydney in his first tournament of the season, Hewett partnered Argentina’s Gustavo Fernandez to victory in Melbourne. The first-time partnership exceeded their second seeding for the tournament to defeat top seeds Joachim Gerard of Belgium and Nicolas Peifer of France 6-3, 6-4 in the final to make it three straight sets wins in three matches.
Hewett arrived in Melbourne with a new career-best men’s singles world ranking at No. 6 after having secured his first career win over Reid in the semi-finals in Sydney. With Reid having the same draw as he had in Sydney and beating Australia’s Ben Weekes and Japan’s Takuya Miki to reach the last four again, Hewett set up the rematch with a 6-4, 1-6, 7-6(7) victory over world No. 8 Maikel Scheffers.
The two Brits go into the Australian Open with one win apiece against each other so far this season after world No. 1 Reid won their latest encounter 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 to return to the final in Melbourne. However, the top seed finished runner-up for the second successive year as Fernandez took the title 7-6(3), 6-1.
Lucy Shuker’s preparations for the Australian Open saw her contest the women’s singles only and after a 6-7(3), 6-2, 6-0 first round win over the USA’s Dana Mathewson, Shuker bowed out to the top seed and eventual champion Yui Kamiji 6-3, 6-3 in the quarter-finals.
With no quad singles or doubles events at the ITF 2 event, Andy Lapthorne completed his build up to the Australian Open by entering the men’s singles and doubles. Lapthorne defeated Australia’s Joshua Potts 6-4, 6-1 in his main draw qualification match, but then bowed out to Miki. Lapthorne and the USA’s David Wagner also completed their Australian Open quad doubles preparations by gaining match practice in the men’s doubles before losing out to eventual champions Hewett and Fernandez.