27 Jan 2013

Hewett, de Groot win Junior Masters events

Match Report

Photo: ITFDiede de Groot (NED)

Alfie Hewett of Great Britain and Diede de Groot of the Netherlands claimed the Cruyff Foundation Junior Masters boys’ singles and girls’ singles title on Sunday. Hewett retained the title he won for the first time in 2012, while de Groot won the girls’ singles title for the first time after beating two-time champion Angelica Bernal of Colombia.

After defeating Dutchman Carlos Anker 60 60 when they met in the group phase of the competition on Friday, Hewett made another confident start to the final against Anker, holding his opening service game to love before building a commanding 4-0 lead.

Anker had his first game points of the match in the fifth, but doubles faults cost him dearly and Hewett went on to wrap up the opening set in just 19 minutes.

The second set started with some closer exchanges and Anker got his first game of the match on the board to trail 2-1, but Hewett was soon back in command. After earning two match points Hewett put in two double faults as both disappeared, but the Brit made no mistake on his third match point and closed out a 60 61 victory after 46 minutes

“It’s been another good week here in Tarbes and I did what I had to do today, so I’m very happy to retain my titles,” said 15-year-old Hewett. “At 5-1 up I had the match points and at that stage the crowd and the atmosphere was great and I think I just got carried away with it all, but I got myself back on track.

"Obviously I came here as world No. 1 junior and there are people who watched me here last year, so there’s definitely been some pressure to do it again and I’m pleased that I have.”

De Groot wins maiden Junior Masters title

De Groot, who turned 16 in December, had beaten Bernal 64 64 in the second of their three matches in round-robin phase of the girls' singles, but the young Dutch player made a much more dominant start to the final.

She dropped just two points in the first three games and served out the opening set on the first of her two set points after just 14 minutes, with Bernal having won just four points in the set.

Bernal enjoyed more success at the start of the second set, winning two games in a row to take a 2-1 lead and taking de Groot to deuce in the fourth game, but de Groot was more than equal to the challenge and broke Bernal in the fifth and seventh games to take a 5-2 lead.

She then earned three match points, only to see all three disappear, but Bernal was unable to save a fourth match point and de Groot completed a 60 62 victory in 40 minutes, posting notice that she could yet be a future Dutch star in the women’s game, just like seven-time Paralympic gold medallist Esther Vergeer, who was in Tarbes acting as coach to de Groot and Anker.

“I was focused the whole match and even if I lost the point I was positive,” said de Groot afterwards. “It’s amazing to win. I am here for the first time and I did not expect that I would beat Angelica. I came thinking ‘let’s see how far I have come’ and I won!”