Hewett motivated by Rio revenge mission after keeping hopes alive in Tokyo

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Hewett, 23, remains on a collision course to meet Reid in a repeat of the Rio 2016 singles final
Hewett, 23, remains on a collision course to meet Reid in a repeat of the Rio 2016 singles final

By Tom Harle in Tokyo

Alfie Hewett feels it's written in the stars for him to face close pal and doubles partner Gordon Reid in the singles final at the Paralympics.

The Norwich star beat French seventh seed Nicolas Peifer 6-3 6-4 to reach the semi-finals and keep the prospect of a repeat of the Rio 2016 final alive.

Reid won the day five years ago and with the ParalympicsGB pair never having met in another Grand Slam singles or major final, Hewett is sensing a second tussle ahead.

"I have a feeling, I do have a feeling about it," said Hewett.

"Gordon seems to be playing some really good tennis so it wouldn’t surprise me if he reaches it but we’ve both got real tough matches next.

"It will be great. We’re part of a team this week but for two Brits to reach the final is what we all want.

"It produces some great tennis when we play against each other because we probably do understand each other’s game more than anyone else on the tour.

"He knows where I’m going and I know where he’s going so it’s almost a game of bluff in the end."

The pair have already guaranteed at least a silver medal in the men's doubles, setting up a tilt at a Golden Slam having already won the Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon together in 2021 with the US Open still to come.

Hewett looked at home under the roof against Peifer, breaking serve at 3-3 in the first set and doing the same early in the second to assert his supremacy.

"I’m satisfied. I don’t think it was the best performance from myself," he said.

"I’ve definitely played a lot better recent tournaments but I think once you get here it’s purely about getting the win and I think I held my nerve a bit better in the bigger points and it was close, 3-3 in both sets.

"I think I played consistent tennis and put him under pressure so that was probably the difference."

Hewett has Perthes disease, a rare childhood condition that means bone in the hip dies from a lack of bloody supply.

Swimmer Ellie Robinson, whose emotional post-race interview on Channel 4 went viral, also has the condition.

And Hewett said: "I actually spoke to her when she got back, she was quite emotional and quite tearful, we can relate a lot to our disabilities and what we’ve been through.

"We bumped into each other in the accommodation about a week ago and she mentioned it - that was the introduction to be honest.

"I’d seen her in Rio and we hadn’t spoken, she’s obviously quite a good swimmer, and I think it was after I saw her interview we just bumped into each other again.

"All I can say is well done to her because it sounds like she’s gone through absolute hell this last year or so. She can leave like she said on her own terms."

Sainsbury’s is a proud supporter of ParalympicsGB and a champion of inclusive sport for all. Sainsbury’s commitment to helping customers to eat better has been at the heart of what we do since 1869. For more information on Sainsbury’s visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/ and https://paralympics.org.uk/

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