Melbourne | Hewett reaches wheelchair final

Alfie Hewett will contest his 17th Grand Slam singles final on Saturday at the Australian Open after the world No.1 today produced a powerhouse performance to beat Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-4 6-1 to reach his fourth successive title decider at Melbourne Park. He will now play Japan’s world No.2 Tokito Oda in the final for the second year in a row.

Unbeaten against Gerard in their four most recent encounters, including two this season at the Victorian Open and the Melbourne Open, eight-time Grand Slam champion Hewett forged into a 5-2 first set lead before Gerard rallied to win the next two games. However, it was only a temporary reprieve for the Belgian as Hewett broke Gerard to love to take the set.

Thereafter it was all one-way traffic as Hewett moved 5-0 up in the second set and this time, he served out the match to love after a final game that included three emphatic forehand winners.

Supported by the LTA’s Wheelchair Elite Programme along with fellow semi-finalist Gordon Reid, defending champion Hewett said:

“This is our third time already this year playing against each other, so we’re quite familiar with each other’s game styles and I’m obviously just delighted to get through because he’s someone who brings a lot to the court and he’s given me plenty of challenges, especially in Australia a couple of years ago in the final.

“He’s an incredibly tough player to play against and to get through that first set gave me a little bit of breathing room and definitely helped me to relax in that second set.”

With Hewett and Reid having completed their Grand Slam campaigns for 2023 by contesting the first all-British men’s wheelchair singles final at one of the four majors as Hewett lifted his fourth US Open title, Reid made a bold attempt to repeat the feat.

The world No.5 and 2016 Australian Open champion pushed second seed Oda all the way in two absorbing sets before Oda held on to snatch a 7-6(4) 7-5 win after a little under two hours of play.

British hopes of two more Australian Open finals resume on Margaret Court Arena on Friday after rain delayed Hewett and Reid’s bid to reach a fifth successive men’s doubles final in Melbourne.

The four-time defending champions are due to play Japan’s Daisuke Arai and Takashi Sanada, while fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne and the USA’s David Wagner continue their bid for a fifth Australian Open quad doubles title together.

Should Hewett, Reid and Lapthorne win their doubles semi-finals, the finals are scheduled for later in the day.

Gordon Reid sets up a shot

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)



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