Alfie Hewett gains new career high world ranking in singles

Alfie Hewett finished runner-up to Stephane Houdet in South Africa at the weekend. Photo: Reg Caldec

Alfie Hewett finished runner-up to Stephane Houdet in South Africa at the weekend. Photo: Reg Caldecott/Gallo Images - Credit: Gallo Images

Norfolk's Alfie Hewett has reached a new career high men's singles world ranking of 13 after finishing runner-up at the Gauteng Open in Benoni, South Africa.

The 18-year-old from Cantley beat two of the world's top 10 wheelchair tennis players before losing out to Stephane Houdet in the final on Sunday, 6-3 6-3.

The British number two arrived in South Africa ranked 14 in the world and without a seeding, but after a 6-0, 6-0 win in his opening match Hewett beat world number seven and fourth seed Stefan Olsson of Sweden 6-4 6-2 in the second round. He followed that with victory over French eighth seed Frederic Cattaneo 6-4 6-4 in the quarter-finals. Hewett then sealed his first career victory over a world top three player when securing victory over current world number three Nicolas Peifer of France 7-5, 7-6 (2) in Saturday's semi-finals.

He has subsequently moved up one place in the new rankings, replacing Cattaneo as world No.13.

'I'm very proud of what I've achieved in the last week and pleased with how I fought against Stephane,' he said. 'It's only the second time I've played him and last time, two years ago, I only won two games, but hopefully I'll get the chance to play him many more times in the future.

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'I won a few ITF 2 titles and beat a few world top ten players last season, but this is the first time I've beaten two world top 10 ranked players in the same tournament, so it all bodes well for the South Africa Open and to go into the Super Series with a new career best ranking is a great way to start a new week.

'I've had some great support from London 2012 medallist Lucy Shuker, the other player on the Tennis Foundation's Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme here with me this week, and travelling coach Joe Gill.

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'I really appreciate all the support and messages and the continued support I get from my team back home, my family, the Tennis Foundation and UK Sport, which gives me the chance to produce results like this.'

Hewett will now contest the SA Open Super Series, one of six tournaments ranked second in importance only to the Grand Slams, which begins in Johannesburg today.

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