New York | Hewett and Lapthorne reach wheelchair singles finals
Britain’s Alfie Hewett and Andy Lapthorne will contest both the US Open men’s and quad singles wheelchair finals on Sunday after three superb performances on Saturday’s penultimate day of play in New York.
I’m really pleased with my form this week and very pleased to be in two finals again here in New York. I love this city and there’s a really exciting day ahead tomorrow with big opportunities. Andy Lapthorne
It will now be the second time in three years that players on the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme have contested four finals at the last Grand Slam of the year, with Hewett and Lapthorne also involved in both the men’s and quad doubles title deciders.
After rain hit Friday’s schedule in New York, defending champion Hewett completed straight sets victories in both his men’s quarter and semi-final matches, the 21-year-old world No. 5 defeating Nicolas Peifer of France 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 14 minutes to make it three back-to-back finals at Flushing Meadows.
Seven-time Grand Slam champion Hewett had earlier resumed his quarter-final against world No. 2 Shingo Kunieda leading 4-1 before defeating Japan’s six-time US Open champion 6-3, 7-6(2) in a rematch of last year’s final to reach the last four. A jubilant Hewett said:
“It’s crazy to think that I have played this tournament three times now and have made the final each time. I guess I just love the event and it brings out my best tennis.
“Both matches brought very different challenges. With Shingo, he’s the legend of the sport and you don’t get any free points on the game, break, set or match points against him, so you have to play really well and earn them.
“With Nico you get no rhythm and he is unpredictable, so it’s about me trying to control what I can do. So, I am pleased that I was given two very different challenges and have come out the other side as winner of both.”
Hewett, who will now play world No.3 Stephane Houdet of France in a rematch of their 2017 US Open final before partnering fellow Brit Gordon Reid in a bid to complete a hat-trick of men’s doubles titles in New York, added:
“If we can win both titles again tomorrow it would be a massive achievement, as it’s been a tough year for me. I’m just going to try and leave it all out there.”
Hewett and Reid will face French Open champions Gustavo Fernandez and Kunieda in the US Open men’s doubles final. Houdet reached this year’s singles final after beating world No.1 Fernandez 3-6, 6-2, 7-5, ending the Argentinian’s quest for a calendar Grand Slam.
In the quad singles, Lapthorne booked his place in his third US Open final since winning his only Grand Slam singles title to date in New York in 2014, beating American Bryan Barten 6-1, 6-3 in his must-win third and last round-robin match.
World No.3 Lapthorne, who completed his round-robin matches with two wins in three contests, will now play world No.1 Dylan Alcott of Australia in Sunday’s final. The pair also met in July’s inaugural Wimbledon quad singles final and paired up to win the first-ever Wimbledon quad doubles title.
Lapthorne, who recovered from the disappointment of having had two match points against Alcott in his second match of the week to extend his unbeaten career record against Barten to 12 matches, said:
“I’m really pleased with my form this week and very pleased to be in two finals again here in New York. I love this city and there’s a really exciting day ahead tomorrow with big opportunities.”
Lapthorne will also be attempting to make it a hat-trick of US Open quad doubles titles on Sunday. He has won the last two doubles titles partnering American David Wagner. However, after their historic victory at Wimbledon, Lapthorne and Alcott will aim to make it back-to-back Grand Slam titles together when they take on Barten and Wagner in New York.