‘ONE OF MY BEST PERFORMANCES’: HEWETT, DE GROOT, VINK WIN BRITISH OPEN

Alfie Hewett produced a near flawless performance to join Tokito with two men’s singles Super Series titles on the 2023 UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour as the world No.2 beat Joachim Gerard  6-0 6-2 to win his second Lexus British Open crown.

While Hewett added the men’s doubles title with Gordon Reid, the women’s and quad singles and doubles titles all returned to Netherlands as Diede de Groot and Niels Vink added to their British Open singles victories ahead of contesting this week’s inaugural European Para Championships in Rotterdam.

Hewett needed just 49 minutes to beat Gerard, who had started the British summer by defeating Hewett in the British Grass Court men’s wheelchair tournament at the cinch Championships.

“That was up there with one of my best performances ever, “ said Hewett after winning his second singles title in three years at Nottingham Tennis Centre. In 2021 he became the first Brit to lift the men’s singles trophy at his home Super Series tournament.

While Hewett’s victory came after a dominant performance, the men’s doubles victory partnering Reid was a much more difficult victory to secure, with the top seeds and 18-time Grand Slam champions needing to dig deep to beat reigning ITF Doubles Masters champions Marttin de la Puente and Gustavo Fernandez 4-6 6-2 )11-9).

With Hewett and Reid having triumphed in front of 10,000 people under the roof on No. Court at Wimbledon last month, Hewett added:

“It’s been an incredible summer for me and Gordon, it’s definitely going to be up there when we eventually look back at our careers as one of the most special. I think it’s been a real turning point for wheelchair tennis in Britain – the publicity we’ve had over the last six weeks has been phenomenal and not something that we could have even imagined. Hopefully next year we can put on a bigger and better show.”

The men’s singles decider was not the only final on the last of the six days of play to produce a one-sided scoreline. World No. 1 De Groot extended her winning streak to 114 matches as she saw off Chinese world No.6 Zhenzhen Zhu 6-1` 6-0 in the women’s singles final.

“I’m very happy to be here. I don’t really look at the numbers too much because I really just enjoy playing and improving,” said De Groot, referring to her wining streak, which dates back to the start of the 2021 Australian Open. “I think this week showed everyone and myself that I’m on the right path.

“I still have a few weeks to improve [before the US Open] but also to just enjoy the summer a bit and have a little rest.”

Like Hewett and Reid, De Groot and Jiske Griffioen went on to complete the hat-trick of titles on offer during the British summer as the British Grass Court Tournament and Wimbledon champions added their first British Open title together after beating Belgian Open champions Dana Matheson and Lucy Shuker  

De Groot’s rest will have to wait at least another week as she is top seed for the women’s singles at this week’s European Para Championships in Rotterdam, where Vink and Sam Schroder will be the top two seeds for the quad singles.

Vink and Schroder dominated the quad singles and quad doubles in Nottingham. British Open champions in 2019 and 2021, respectively they duly saw off all opposition to reach their 14th successive final against each other, with Vink completing the full set of five Super Series titles on offer in 2023 after defeating Schroder 6-3 6-2, having ended Andy Lapthorne’s title defence in the semi-finals.

Since the Australian Open I haven’t lost a singles match so I’m really happy with my level and this result,” said Vink. “At the beginning of the week I needed to get used to the hard court, because it had been a while. It’s always special to come back here because I won my first Super Series tournament over here, so I’m really happy to do it for a second time.”

The top seeds were awarded a walkover ahead of their scheduled quad doubles final against Heath Davidson and Robert Shaw after Shaw had to withdraw due to injury.

By Dr Muhammad Hussain