Kettering’s Dermot Bailey retained his men’s singles title at Sheffield Wheelchair Tennis Tournament over the weekend to maintain his position inside the world’s top 40.
The 22-year-old British No.5, who won one of three titles in Sheffield for players on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme, subsequently moves up one place to No.39 this week after claiming the fifth ITF Futures Series title of his career.
The Sheffield tournament brought Bailey his first senior international men’s singles title in 2015 and as he returned to the event this year as top seed he opened his title defence with successive straight sets wins over fellow Brits Josh Cooper and Scott Smith.
Bailey then stepped up his performance to power through his semi-final against Moroccan third seed Ayoub Ettali 6-1, 6-0, setting up a title decider against Hungarian second seed Roland Nemeth, which the Northamptonshire player won 3-6, 7-5, 6-2.
“It’s the first time I’ve been in the position of defending a main draw singles title, so although I don’t feel like I played my best tennis all week, I’m really happy to come through and, most importantly, to have defended my ranking points,” said Bailey.
“The first two sets in the final could have gone either way, there was just one break and just a few points in them. I started to find my range in the final set and made more returns, so I’m really pleased with how I finished it off and pulled away at the end. I played Roland in February last year and he won that in a final set tie-break, so it’s very satisfying to get the win this time and tt was a very good weekend for the Tennis Foundation World Class Programme.”
Bailey, who won four ITF Futures singles titles last year to end 2015 ranked inside the world’s top 50 for the first time, is currently just once place away from his career best singles ranking of No. 38, which he attained last month after reaching the semi-finals of the ITF 3 Series Alpi del Mare in Italy.