Wheelchair tennis ace Alfie on top of the world

Friday, February 1, 2013
6:01 PM

Andy Murray may just have fallen short in his quest for another major title but just days after officially being confirmed as the world number one ranked junior, wheelchair tennis player Alfie Hewett, from Cantley, retained both his singles and doubles titles at the ITF 2013 Cruyff Federation Junior Masters in Tarbes, France.

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The youngest winner of the singles title at the age of 14 last year, and only the second Brit to do so, Alfie withstood the pressures of being top seed and favourite to beat Carlos Anker of the Netherlands in the final 6-0, 6-1.

Hewett made another confident start in his final against Anker building a commanding 4-0 lead before wrapping up the opening set in just 19 minutes.

The second set started with some closer exchanges and Anker got his first game of the match on the board to trail 2-1, but Hewett was soon back in command.

The Brit raced through the rest of the set and made no mistake on his third match point to close out victory after 46 minutes.

The previous day, Alfie had beaten room-mate and doubles partner Chris Herman (USA) in the semi-final of the singles 6-3, 6-1, but they later combined to take the doubles title.

Up against Anker and Nico Langmann (AUS), Alfie and Chris won 6-2, 7-5.

“It’s been another good week here in Tarbes and I did what I had to do today, so I’m very happy to retain my titles,” said Hewett.

“At 5-1 up I had the matchpoints and at that stage the crowd and the atmosphere was great and I think I just got carried away with it all, but I got myself back on track.

“Obviously I came here as world No. 1 junior and there are people who watched me here last year, so there’s definitely been some pressure to do it again and I’m pleased that I have.”

Ash Smith, the Tennis Foundation’s Performance Development Coach said: “Last year he was the underdog and there was no pressure on him, but this year he’s come to Tarbes with a level of expectation, so to have retained both the singles and doubles titles in the way he has is very impressive.”

In Group 1 of the boys’ singles Alfie began his title defence with a 6-0, 6-1 win over South Africa’s Thato Tsomole.

Hewett ended the day by beating Martin de La Puente of Spain 6-0, 6-0 in which the 15-year-old won 95pc of the points played on his first serve.

In the final group match, Alfie beat Anker 6-0, 6-0, who he later met in the final. In the doubles Alfie and Chris Herman beat Spain’s M de la Puente and G Lekhanyane of South Africa 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-final.

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