World number three Alfie Hewett is through to the final of the British Open Wheelchair Singles final after a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over compatriot and doubles partner Gordon Reid.
The pair, who were knocked out in the doubles semi-finals yesterday know each other’s game inside out and that made it very entertaining viewing when they went head to head.
Revenge was on the mind for Hewett, who was denied a gold medal at Rio 2016 Olympics after losing to Reid in the final 12 months ago.
The 19-year-old raced into a 3-0 lead with a combination of powerful backhands, speed of return and well-placed shots.
Scotsman Reid, who brought with him a large fanbase from his native homeland was not going to lie down easily and won his first game of the match to try and gather some momentum for a comeback.
Hewett was not to be perturbed though & with his family and girlfriend (Dana Mathewson) watching on he secured the first set 6-3, to put himself in a dominant position heading into the second.
At the break, there was some concern as Hewett sought medical attention for an injured wrist and that seemed to be playing on his mind as the second set got underway.
Reid, possibly encouraged by his opponent’s woes put in a dominant performance that saw him take a 0-5 lead to make it very likely that this one would be decided by a third set.
Seeing his doubles partner hurt must have been a double-edged sword for the 25-year-old as he seemed to be buoyed knowing that the game was now in his advantage.
Hewett seemingly had no reply for Reid’s ‘dropshots’, a shot that the Scot also puts a lot of backspin on, making it virtually impossible to be returned.
The weather reflected Hewett’s mood as we went from a sunny first set, to a dreary and cold second. The 19-year-old, who wears his heart on his sleeve was visibly frustrated that his minor injury was hampering his performance after playing so well in the opening games.
It was a case of putting his second set performance behind him as the semi-final ventured into its third and final set. With the match hanging so finely in the balance, you would have been a braver man than I to call who would get into the final.
With the third set at one game apiece, Hewett found himself in a nightmare scenario when Reid broke his serve to take a 1-2 lead.
The Englishman, from Norwich, kept calm though & responded immediately with a break of his own.
This seemed to give Hewett more confidence and what had in one moment been a tense affair now had a new lease of life and there was only going to be one winner.
Hewett played a tremendous backhand passing shot to retain his serve and then duly broke Reid’s once more.
It was now 5-3, with only one game separating Hewett and the final of the British Open.
At 30-15, it was a huge moment, the two Briton’s were embroiled in a great rally. If Hewett wins, he looks favourite to win, if Reid triumphs, the tides could be turning.
It felt like the rally lasted forever, back and forth and back and forth, before finally something had to give. Reid went for a fierce backhand, but it struck the net! Hewett was now a point away from a place in the final and a point away from beating his friend.
Hewett looked relaxed and he served for what would be the final point of the match, it was initially well returned by Reid, but a strong forehand from the Hewett asked too much and he could only hit the net with his return.
Hewett let out a roar as he realised he was in the final, it had been a tense affair and after a miserable second set, you could tell what it meant to the youngster.
The pair embraced as at once they went from being opponents back to friends.
Hewett now faces Gustavo Fernandez in the final tomorrow.