Melbourne, Australia, 23 January 2022 | Leigh Rogers

Dylan Alcott has made an impressive start to his final Australian Open campaign, fighting back to claim a three-set win against fierce rival Niels Vink.

The world No.1 was forced to dig deep in a 6-7(1) 6-4 6-2 victory in quad wheelchair singles action at Melbourne Park this evening.

Alcott needed two hours and 44 minutes to subdue the 19-year-old Dutchman, whose fearless game had the seven-time defending champion in trouble early during their quarterfinal clash at Kia Arena.

“I didn’t play my best tennis early on today, but it wasn’t because of me. It was because of Niels, he is so good,” Alcott said.

The Aussie favourite made a promising start against the world No.3, building a 4-2 opening-set lead.

However, Vink fought back to heap the pressure on his more-experienced opponent and eventually took a fiercely-contested opening set in a tiebreak.

Alcott edged ahead 4-2 in the second set – but once again, Vink found a way to halt the world No.1’s momentum and level at 4-all.

“I was probably a bit up and about early on, and not really thinking my way through it,” Alcott said.

“I had to focus, then I started playing better. I’m a good thinker out here and I’m really proud of the way we worked our way through it.”

The 31-year-old Aussie demonstrated his fighting spirit, breaking Vink’s serve again in the ninth game and then holding to level the match at one-set apiece.

The pair, who faced-off in the US Open 2021 final and memorably contested a three-set semifinal at last year’s Tokyo Paralympic Games, traded breaks early in the deciding set.

But in the end Alcott’s experience proved telling, winning six of the final seven games against a cramping Vink.

“I was pumped,” Alcott said, crediting the vocal crowd support for helping him finish so strongly.

Alcott moves into the semifinals, where he’ll face world No.5 Andy Lapthorne. He has beaten the 31-year-old Brit in all eight of their previous Australian Open meetings.

This evening’s victory further improves Alcott’s incredible career record at his home Grand Slam. He has now won 27 of the 30 singles matches he has contested at the tournament and is two more wins away from claiming an unprecedented eighth consecutive quad wheelchair singles title.

Australian Heath Davidson is also through to the semifinals, advancing to this stage in a Grand Slam singles draw for the first time in his career.

The 34-year-old, who lives and trains in Melbourne, recorded a 6-2 6-2 victory against Japan’s Koji Sugeno today.

This sets up a semifinal showdown with world No.2 and AO 2021 finalist Sam Schroder.

In men’s wheelchair singles action, Ben Weekes lost in straight sets to the Netherlands’ Tom Egberink.

The 37-year-old Weekes now turns his attention to tomorrow’s doubles semifinals, where he is teaming up with Egberink.

Australian Open 2022

TODAY’S RESULTS
Quad wheelchair singles, quarterfinals
[1] Dylan Alcott (AUS) d Niels Vink (NED) 6-7(1) 6-4 6-2
Heath Davidson (AUS)
d Koji Sugeno (JPN) 6-2 6-2

Men’s wheelchair singles, quarterfinals
Tom Egberink (NED) d [WC] Ben Weekes (AUS) 6-1 6-1

COMING UP
Quad wheelchair singles, semifinals
[1] Dylan Alcott (AUS) v Andy Lapthorne (GBR)
Heath Davidson (AUS)
v [2] Sam Schroder (NED)

Quad wheelchair doubles, semifinals
Dylan Alcott (AUS)/Heath Davidson (AUS) v [1] Sam Schroder (NED)/Niels Vink (NED)

Men’s wheelchair doubles, semifinals
Ben Weekes (AUS)/Tom Egberink (NED) v [1] Alfie Hewett (GBR)/Gordon Reid (GBR)

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