Photo: Hannie VerhoevenAlfie Hewett (GBR)
All four scheduled men’s singles first round matches went to a third and deciding set on the second day of the ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, part of the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour, with Alfie Hewett saving no fewer than nine match points to set up an all-British quarterfinal in Rotterdam.
World No. 6 Hewett will face defending champion and second seed Gordon Reid in the last eight as the countrymen go head-to-head for the third time since meeting in last year’s Rio Paralympic gold medal match.
Hewett earned a hard-won 62 46 76(7) victory over Takuya Miki for his third three set victory in five matches unbeaten against Japan’s world No. 10. The 19-year-old goes into the quarterfinals against Reid with both Britons having beaten each other in their two matches so far this season.
It was a good day for two of the sport’s most recent three-time Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters champions, as 17-year-old Martin de la Puente recorded just his second victory in nine meetings against fellow Spaniard Daniel Caverzaschi.
After Caverzaschi had snatched the opening set, de la Puente missed the opportunity to take the second set after opening a healthy 5-2 lead, but the younger and lower ranked player took his chances in the next game to force a decider. De la Puente took the momentum into the final set and eventually wrapped up a 57 63 61 victory that sets up a quarterfinal against Argentina’s reigning Australian Open champion and third seed Gustavo Fernandez.
There were mixed fortunes for the home representatives in the day’s other two first round matches as Netherlands’ Maikel Scheffers booked his place in the last eight, but Tom Egberink bowed out in a match of distinctly fluctuating momentum swings.
Scheffers exchanged games with Frenchman Frederic Cattaneo throughout the first set of their match before the Dutchman dominated the tiebreak. Cattaneo put together six games in a row to take the second set, but he was unable to build on a 4-2 lead in the final set and Scheffers sealed the win 76(2) 26 64 to earn a quarterfinal against a second French opponent, fourth seed Nicolas Peifer.
If there were some major momentum shifts in three of the first round matches, the match-up between South Africa’s Evans Maripa and Egberink produced three one-sided sets as Maripa booked his place in the last eight in Rotterdam for the second successive year after prevailing 61 06 61.
Maripa will go on to play world No. 1 Stephane Houdet for a place in the semifinals.
Thursday’s third day of matches in Rotterdam includes all four singles quarterfinals and both doubles semifinals.