Sheffield’s Alex Jewitt ended his season on the Wheelchair Tennis Tour in impressive style with double glory at the Johannesburg Open.
After he’d bowed out to Japanese top seed Yoshinobu Fujimoto in the semi-finals of the ITF 3 Series Border Open in East London, Britain’s No4 went into the back-to-back South African event as second seed.
Jewitt had eased past Austria’s Wolfgang Stieg and Evans Maripa of South Africa in the first round and the quarter-finals respectively, at the Border Open and he met the same two players in the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the singles in Johannesburg and again achieved comfortable victories.
In the final the Beijing Paralympian met South African No1 Sydwell Mathonsi and although Jewitt had won their previous contest back in 2008, he faced a much tougher task this time.
Jewitt took the first set 6-2, lost the next 6-4 but edged an equally tight deciding set 6-4 for his fourth ITF Futures title of the season.
He said: “I wouldn’t say it was my best match of the year but it was certainly the toughest and it’s a great way to end the season. I can now look forward to 2012 and trying to qualify for my second Paralympics.”
Jewitt also gained his third men’s doubles title of the season after partnering Nigeria’s Alex Adewale to a 6-0, 6-1 victory over South African duo Gift Lekhanyane and Moses Malatji.
He is currently among Britain’s top five ranked men’s singles players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis Performance Programme who are contesting the traditional seasonal openers in Australia this month.
The tournaments have been upgraded and Jewitt, who begins the year ranked 37 in the world, will start with three ITF 2 Series events in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.
He will then head to Sydney for the International Wheelchair Tennis Open, the first of six competitions to have ITF Super Series status.
With the Sydney International being among the most important wheelchair tennis events outside of the Grand Slams, there is plenty of potential for picking up world ranking points for all the players as the qualification window for the London 2012 Paralympic Games continues, before coming to an end on Sunday, May 20.