Alfie Hewett will bid for a hat-trick of US Open men’s wheelchair singles titles on Sunday after a magnificent performance saw him beat world No.2 Gustavo Fernandez of Argentina 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in New York on Friday.
Obviously, there’s something in New York that just clicks with me and, maybe now, anything that’s not a winner’s trophy is a disappointment Alfie Hewett
World No.3 Hewett’s second victory in three years over Fernandez in a US Open semi-final has earned the British No.1 a title decider against world No.1 Shingo Kunieda of Japan, the same player that Hewett beat in the 2018 final.
One of four players on the LTA’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme contesting a US Open semi-final on Friday, two-time defending champion Hewett said:
“I definitely feel confidence when I come here. I’ve only lost one match in four years here. Obviously, there’s something in New York that just clicks with me and, maybe now, anything that’s not a winner’s trophy is a disappointment.”
Fernandez earned the first break of the match, but Hewett broke to love to level at 3-3 and completed a sequence of three games to lead 4-3.
At 5-4 up Hewett started the 10th game with a drop shot that left Fernandez stranded before the Argentinian hit a smash into the net. An inspired Hewett then chased down a drop shot from Fernandez and put a backhand winner away to set up set point, which he converted at the first time of asking with a backhand down the line.
While Fernandez dominated large parts of the second set, Hewett gained the first break of the final set and won 12 of 15 points to earn a 3-1 lead. As the match neared its end, Hewett earned two match points, but only needed the first to gain his place in another Grand Slam final.
Reflecting on his performance, Hewett said:
“I was pretty down after the second set. Gustavo played some amazing tennis in the second and I couldn’t really find my rhythm I just felt like I got really quiet on the court and my aggression seemed to have gone, so I had to tell myself to take a step up the court and be loud.
“I just need to play my game, no matter who I’m playing (in the final) and come on court with the same aggression and intensity.”