Kettering's Bailey earns first top 40 world ranking after reaching Arizona Open final
Dermot Bailey’s first ever wheelchair tennis tournament in the USA brought great reward for the 21-year-old Kettering player, who has earned his first world top 40 ranking this week after finishing runner-up in the men’s singles at the Arizona Open in Tucson over the weekend.
Bailey reached his first senior men’s singles final at ITF 3 Series level and now lines up for this week’s Indian Wells Tennis Garden Championship in California, which begins on Thursday.
The British No.5 beat two world Top 30 ranked players in his first two matches in Tucson, defeating American fourth seed Jon Rydberg 7-6, 7-6 in his opening match before another fine performance saw him come through his quarter-final against Japan’s Yoshinobu Fujimoto 6-1, 6-0. Rydberg and Fujimoto are former world No. 11 and world No. 13 ranked players respectively.
Bailey, the reigning National champion and the only Brit on the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme to be currently competing in the USA, went on to reach the Arizona final with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over the American Steve Baldwin.
After winning his first four ITF Futures Series singles titles in 2015 before ending the season with a top 50 world ranking for the first time, Bailey saw his quest for his first ITF 3 title and his winning sequence in the USA eventually come to an end against Agustin Ledesma. The Argentinian won the final 7-6(1), 6-1.
“It’s been a really good week. It was tough to end it the way the final finished up, but I've beaten three experienced and highly ranked players, so it’s been a positive week for me,” said Bailey, who has risen nine places in this week’s world rankings to reach No. 40 and improve on his previous career best of No. 45.