17 Feb 2018

Fernandez regains Rotterdam ITF 1 crown

News Article

Photo: Hannie VerhoevenGustavo Fernandez (ARG) and Tournament Director Esther Vergeer

Gustavo Fernandez became the fourth player to win two ABN AMRO World Wheelchair Tennis Tournament singles titles on Saturday after beating world No. 1 Alfie Hewett 76(5) 76(4) in Rotterdam.

Fernandez, the first South American to earn the world No.1 men’s singles ranking last season before ending 2017 as ITF World Champion, lost the top spot to Hewett at the end of January.

However, in the first head-to-head of 2018 between the two players the Argentinian came back from 4-1 down to take the opening set in a tiebreak, with Hewett putting in an untimely double fault on set point.

It was Fernandez, the champion in Rotterdam in 2015, who made the better start to the second set, earning a 4-1 lead of his own. However, Hewett saved a string of break points to reduce the deficit and that proved to be the catalyst for the 20-year-old Briton to draw level and then take the lead at 5-4. A forehand winner earnt Hewett a set point, but he could not convert the opportunity and another double fault brought the score level again at 5-5.

It was Fernandez whose serve faltered as Hewett regained the lead at 6-5, but the second seed comfortably broke back to force another tiebreak. A third and deciding set look to be a distinct possibility as Hewett built a 3-0 cushion in the tiebreak, but six successive points finally brought Fernandez three match points and he wrapped up his second ITF 1 singles title of the year after winning last month’s Melbourne Open.