Melbourne | Oda defeats Hewett in wheelchair final

Alfie Hewett suffered a tight loss in the Australian Open wheelchair championship’s final going down to Japan’s Tokito Oda in straight sets.

Hewett, the defending champion after wining the Gand Slam last year, was defeated 6-2 6-4 by the Japanese youngster whom he defeated 12-months ago for the title.

The 17-year-old Oda has now won three majors to his name, having already pocketed the French Open and Wimbledon beating Hewett in both finals,

“I remember playing with you when I was just 13, you let me hit with you and now we’re playing Grand Slam finals against each other,” Oda told Hewett after the match.

(L-R) Tokito Oda and Alfie Hewett of Great Britain pose with their trophies.

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“It was great, and I always wanted to try and play my backhand like you.”

Hewett, the current world No. 1, an eight-time Grand Slam winner, was full of praise for his opponent.

“Congratulations to you Tokito, there was some high-quality tennis there, some of the best I’ve seen you play so credit to you and everything you’ve done to win this,” Hewett said.

“Last year was my first time winning the Australian Open, so I know how special it is, so I really hope you enjoy this moment.

“For us to be able to play on a court like this in front of all you fans is incredible – it’s what we get up for, it’s why we train and despite the loss really enjoyed playing in front of you today and hopefully you keep on watching wheelchair tennis.”

Hewett had earlier won, in partnership with Gordon Reid, the doubles final defeating Oda and Takuya Miki.

In the women’s wheelchair tournament, Diede de Groot extended her winning streak to 135 matches as she overcame Japan’s Yui Kamiji 7-5 6-4.

It was a record-equalling 21st Grand Slam title for De Groot, who is now level with fellow Dutch great Esther Vergeer.

(L-R) Diede De Groot and Yui Kamiji of Japan pose with their trophies

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

“I can still improve so much more than I already am doing now,” De Groot said. “So finding those little details at the moment is, I think, a very fun process.

“Looking back at all of the records, I’m proud of myself. I think it shows me that I’m doing better than I maybe even hoped I would ever do.”

In the quad wheelchair final, Sam Schroder of the Netherlands won a third successive Australian Open title with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Israel’s Guy Sasson.



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