Tough draws for Alfie Hewett at Australian Open

Alfie Hewett has been knocked out of the Australian Open singles. Picture: Akira Ando

Alfie Hewett has been knocked out of the Australian Open singles. Picture: Akira Ando - Credit: Akira Ando

Alfie Hewett will face world number two Stephane Houdet in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open men's wheelchair singles on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old has been busy preparing for his first grand slam of the year already this month, with three final appearances to his name.

Hewett, from Cantley, near Acle, is ranked number six in the world in singles and enjoyed an exciting breakthrough year in 2016 when he won the Wimbledon doubles title alongside Gordon Reid and Paralympic silver in singles and doubles.

Earlier this month the former City College Norwich student beat world number one Reid 7-5 6-2 in the semi-finals of the Apia International Sydney Wheelchair Tennis Open.

He went on to lose 5-7 1-6 to Nicolas Peifer in the singles final and also tasted defeat in the doubles final alongside Reid, going down 3-6 6-7(4) to the French pair of Houdet and Peifer.

Hewett then competed in the Melbourne Wheelchair Tennis Open last week, losing 4-6 6-3 2-6 to Reid in the singles semi-finals and teaming up with Gustavo Fernandez to reach the doubles final, where they beat Peifer and Joachim Gerard 6-3 6-4.

The draw for the Australian Open has now been made and pits Hewett against the experienced Houdet in the singles quarter-finals on Wednesday, with the winner going on to play either Fernandez or Australian player Ben Weekes.

He will team up with Fernandez to take on Houdet and Peifer in the doubles semi-finals on the same day – the pairing that he and Reid beat in the Wimbledon final but lost to in the Paralympic final in Rio.

'It's been a pretty positive start to 2017 for me after beating Gordon to reach my first Super Series final in Sydney and then going to three sets with him at the Melbourne Open,' said Hewett, one of four Brits on the Tennis Foundation's Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme who will be competing in Melbourne.

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'So after doing that against the world number one I'm really excited to be at the Australian Open for the first time and I'm looking for another big performance against the world number on Wednesday.'

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