British players make home advantage count in North West Challenge

Friday, 22 February 2013
By Duncan Mackay

Alfie Hewett in North West ChallengeFebruary 22 - Home players dominated the International Tennis Federation (ITF) 3 Series North West Challenge, the first of seven British-based world rankings on the 2013 NEC Wheelchair Tennis, winning all six titles. 

Alfie Hewett (pictured top), Jordanne Whiley and Jamie Burdekin all secured singles titles at South Ribble Tennis Centre near Preston.

The 15-year-old Hewett claimed his first senior ITF 3 Series singles title as he upset British number three and top seed Marc McCarroll to clinch a 6-3, 6-4 victory in the men's singles final.

"It's absolutely awesome, I can't quite believe it," said Hewett, the top-ranked junior in the world.

"I knew I'd taken Marc to three sets at the Nottingham Indoor towards the end of 2012, so I hoped it would be close again, but I never thought I would win.

"All credit to Marc, he came back to level the second set at 4-4, but I'm thrilled that I held on to win."

In the women's singles Whiley the British number two, claimed her fourth North West Challenge title after beating second seed Christine Schoenn of France 6-1, 6-3.

Jordanne Whiley at North West ChallengeJordanne Whiley won the women's singles, one of six British winners at the North West Challenge

"I've just come out of a three-month training regime, so it's great to be back to playing matches again and it's always great to win your first tournament of the season," said Whiley.

"It gives me a lot of confidence now going into next week's North East Tournament and who knows, it could be the same final there."

Burdekin secured a local victory in the quad singles final, the world number six and top seed coming from 3-0 down in the second set to defeat world number seven South African and second seed Lucas Sithole 6-2, 7-6.

"I'm delighted to win my first tournament since the Paralympics," said Burdekin.

"I had some time off after the Games and I feel I've got some work to do to get back to how I was playing at London 2012, so it's great to get the win under my belt at my home tennis centre where I train."

In the doubles event, top seeds Hewett and McCarroll paired up in the men's competition, beating Britain's Dermot Bailey and Leonid Shevchik of Russia 6-2, 6-3 in the final.

Meanwhile, Whiley also followed up her singles victory with the women's doubles title. Second seeds Whiley and Evgeniya Korotkina of Russia beat top seeds Lauren Jones and Schoenn 6-4, 7-5.

Britain's Antony Cotterill and Adam Field justified top seeding to retain the quad doubles title after beating South African second seeds Bongani Dhlamini and Sithole 6-1, 6-3.

All of the finalists will now contest Britain's second NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour event of the year, the ITF 2 Series North East Wheelchair Tennis Tournament, which begins on Monday (February 25) in Sunderland and is supported by the Tennis Foundation.

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