Wimbledon: Alfie Hewett into first wheelchair singles final after remarkable comeback

Wimbledon: Alfie Hewett into first wheelchair singles final after remarkable comeback
Alfie Hewett.
Alfie Hewett has now reached the singles and doubles finals of all four Grand Slam tournaments
Venue: All England Club Dates: 27 June-10 July
Coverage: Live across BBC TV, radio and online with extensive coverage on BBC iPlayer, Red Button, Connected TVs and mobile app.

Britain’s Alfie Hewett captured the hearts of Court One with a remarkable comeback to reach his first Wimbledon men’s wheelchair singles final.

Hewett came from a set and two breaks of serve down to beat Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina 2-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-4.

The world number two meets Japanese top seed Shingo Kunieda in Sunday’s final.

“That was incredible – I’ve never experienced anything like this before,” said the 24-year-old in an emotional on-court interview.

Hewett and Fernandez received a standing ovation after a three-hour tussle in which the Briton rallied from behind to cancel out a superb start from his South American opponent.

The players traded 14 breaks of serve and an array of eye-catching winners in a seesaw encounter that thrilled the showpiece court’s large crowd.

“We try to improve the exposure of our sport and I think we showcased a pretty good level today,” five-time Grand Slam singles champion Hewett added.

Hewett, who had lost two previous singles semi-finals at Wimbledon, had little time to reflect on his achievement, though, as he was due back on Court One later on Friday for a doubles semi-final alongside fellow Briton Gordon Reid.

The defending champions will face Dutchman Tom Egberink and Belgium’s Joachim Gerard – the pair the Britons beat in last year’s final.

‘Pushed to be in front of a bigger crowd’

Alfie Hewett.
Alfie Hewett’s semi-final against Gustavo Fernandez was played in front of a large crowd on Court One

After his quarter-final win over close friend Reid on Thursday, Hewett told BBC Sport he was “disappointed” the all-British encounter had been played on court 14, rather than promoted to a show court.

All England Club schedulers appeared to have taken his comments on board, moving Hewett’s semi-final against Fernandez, also a five-time Grand Slam winner, from court three to the 12,345-capacity Court One.

“I was actually asleep at 9.30 last night and I kept getting phone calls from the [tournament] referee,” Hewett said.

“I thought it’s probably nothing important, just leave it – and it was actually a court change to Court One so once I found that out I didn’t get much sleep after that.

“I’ve been buzzing for this sort of occasion.

“We’ve been lucky enough to be on court three and we’ve tried to push for our sport to be demonstrated in front of a bigger crowd.”

The lack of sleep might have been the reason for Hewett’s sluggish start as he struggled on serve throughout the opening two sets, even double-faulting four times in one game to gift Fernandez one of his breaks of serve.

But from 6-2 5-1 down, the Briton won five successive games to force a tie-break, which he won handsomely.

Hewett again dropped serve in the opening game of the deciding set but broke back to level at 4-4 and held in a marathon 15-minute game before again breaking Fernandez to seal an unforgettable victory.

He now faces 27-time Grand Slam singles champion Kunieda, who brushed aside Gerard 6-1 6-1 in his semi-final and is chasing a career Slam, with Wimbledon the only major missing from his trophy cabinet.

Elsewhere, Britain’s Andy Lapthorne and American David Wagner advanced to the quad wheelchair doubles final when one of their opponents, South African Donald Ramphadi, fell out of his chair and was unable to continue.

Lucy Shuker, however, suffered a semi-final defeat as she and South Africa’s Kgothatso Montjane were beaten 6-4 6-2 by Japan’s Yui Kamiji and American Dana Mathewson in the women’s wheelchair doubles.

Around the BBC - SoundsAround the BBC footer - Sounds

Share this post

Similar Posts