Alfie Hewett has become the first British player to win the NEC Masters title after bringing his superlative 2017 to a close with an impressive 6-3 6-2 victory over friend and doubles partner Gordon Reid in the final.
It was the first all-British men’s singles final in the event’s 24-year history, and allowed Hewett to complete a remarkable double after winning the Masters doubles event alongside Reid last week.
Reid started well and opened up a 3-0 first-set lead, only for Hewett to spring into top form and reel off eight games in a row as he took the first set and went a break up in the second.
Incredible way to finish an amazing 2017. NEC Singles Masters Champion 3 titles in 3 weeks, I couldn't be prouder. Can't thank everybody enough for your support. Over the moon to finish the year on such a high, bring on 2018 ✌ pic.twitter.com/uSgJ0vELQc— Alfie Hewett (@alfiehewett6) December 3, 2017
The lead proved insurmountable for Reid as Hewett added another title to a hugely impressive 2017.
"I feel great. It was a really good performance again today. I wasn’t sure which Alfie would turn up," said world number two Hewett.
"It was a bit of a struggle at the start of the week and then out nowhere I played one of the best matches of my life in the semi-finals (where he beat defending champion Joachim Gerard).
"“I came out in the first set and Gordon was too strong for me, but I didn’t panic and I just had to ride the storm. If he’d played like that for two sets he deserved to win.
"Fortunately for me his intensity dropped and I managed to find my way back into the match. It feels great to make history, but as much as I get the limelight I need to and I want to thank everyone around me – family, friends, support team back in Norfolk and in London, the Tennis Foundation; there are so many people, because if it hadn’t been for them I wouldn’t be here now."
Reid added: "I’m a bit disappointed, of course, and I’m feeling a bit tired , both mentally and physically. But I’m feeling pretty happy with my week overall.
"I had a great start , but then there was maybe a little bit of confidence lost after a couple of missed shots. But I also think Alfie got a few nerves out of his system and started to relax. But overall it’s been a good week and there are lots of positives to take away, especially coming back like I did in my last round-robin match against Gustavo Fernandez, being three match points down. That was the greatest comeback of my career."
Meanwhile, Reid and Hewtt's fellow Brit Andy Lapthorne fell short in his attempt to end David Wagner's domination of the NEC Masters quads event as he suffered a 6-1 6-2 defeat in the final.
Not to be today lost out to the better player gutted doesn’t cover it. But as they say it’s not how hard you hit it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. Thanks for all the love and support in 2017. No Tournaments for 6-7 weeks— Andy Lapthorne (@lapstar11) December 3, 2017
Wagner's victory gave him his 10th Masters title as he also sealed the end-of-year world number one ranking against the only player who could have toppled him in the 50th career meeting between the pair.
“I feel great, I’m excited. I’ve said all week that no one comes here to take second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth," said Wagner.
"We all come here to take first place. There can only be one and I’m really excited that it’s me."
Lapthorne paid tribute to Wagner after finishing runner-up in the event for the third time.
"I didn’t return well enough and there were too many errors. David is so good at placing the ball if you hit it to him," he said.
"I had a couple of chances in the second set to make it closer, but just didn’t take it. He’s serving onto a 50 pence piece every time and I know what’s coming. If I don’t keep the ball away from him he just hits it to the other side. He’s a legend of our sport. He doesn’t win all the titles he does for nothing. “