St Louis | Hewett sets up another meeting with the World No.1
If the UNIQLO wheelchair tennis tour was a soap opera this would be one of it’s main 2017 storylines.
Alfie Hewett and Gustavo Fernandez have stormed up the rankings and broken into the top four in style this year.
And after winning three set thriller quarter-finals, both coming from a set behind to claim victory. they are about to meet in the USTA US Open wheelchair tennis championships semi-finals.
World number three, Hewett defeating France’s Nicolas Peifer 2-6 6-4 7-5 and the current World number one Fernandez coming out on top over a former World number one in Maikel Scheffers 4-6 6-2 6-3.
But seeing Hewett and Fernandez at opposite sides of the net is nothing new, this will be their fifth meeting in the last four months alone.
And whilst Fernandez currently leads the 2017 head to head 3-1 that really doesn’t tell the full tale of their blossoming on court rivalry.
The Grand Slam stage has played host to some of their most memorable showdowns this year.
The first at Roland Garros, where Hewett came from a set and 2-0 down, saving a number of match points as well, in the final to force a tie break in the second set and eventually take the match and the French Open singles title.
The second in the Wimbledon semi-finals, where this time it was Fernandez who had to come from a set behind to eventually take the win, seeing him progress to the men’s singles final where he finished as runner-up to Sweden’s Stefan Olsson..
They’ve also got Super Series form as well this year, having met in The British Open final in August, where Fernandez lifted the title.
But this is not the first time they have met in St Louis.
At the 2016 tournament it was a quarter-final match-up which saw Fernandez once again come from a set down – these two don’t like to make it easy for us – to take the match.
So Hewett will no doubt be looking to even the head to head at these championships when he takes to the court later today.
And for whoever comes out on top a place in the final awaits against either Stephane Houdet, who defeated Belgium’s Joachim Gerard 6-3 6-2, or Shingo Kunieda, who ended Gordon Reid’s run in St Louis in straight sets 6-4 7-6 (4).
Britain’s Andy Lapthorne booked his spot in the quads singles semi-finals with a 6-4 6-1 win over Mika Ishikawa.
And there was 100% success in doubles competition for the British players, who all progressed through to the next rounds in their respective divisions.
Reid and Hewett in the men’s division and Lapthorne alongside the USA’s David Wagner and Antony Cotterill with Australia’s Heath Davidson in the quads division all making through to the semi-finals with straight set victories.
And for Lucy Shuker another women’s doubles final awaits, this time with Japan’s Yui Kamiji,by her side, after the pair triumphed over Kanako Domori and Kgothatso Montjane 6-1 6-0.
The final will see them take on the top seeds and formidable Dutch partnership of Marjolein Buis and Diede de Groot as Shuker bids for back-to-back doubles tournament wins after triumphing in the women’s draw in Canada last week.