Bailey claims his 10th career singles title

Dermot Bailey won his 10th career senior wheelchair tennis singles title in Antwerp
Dermot Bailey won his 10th career senior wheelchair tennis singles title in Antwerp

Dermot Bailey took his career tally of senior wheelchair tennis singles titles into double figures with victory in the men’s singles at the Memorial Jens Vanherck in Antwerp.

The Kettering 24-year-old has subsequently reached his best world ranking of the season to date, rising to number 58 this week and he is aiming for more before the year is out.

A 6-0, 6-0 win over Belgian local Roland de Meersman set sixth seed Bailey on his way to four straight sets wins at the ITF Futures event, including victories over the second seed and the top seed in his quarter-final and Sunday’s final, respectively.

Bailey beat Carlos Anker 6-2, 6-3 in the last eight and a second Dutchman, world number 30 Rody de Bie, in the final, with a 6-4, 6-1 win over South Africa’s Leon Els sandwiched in between.

“It was a really good week,” said Bailey, a member of the Tennis Foundation’s Wheelchair Tennis World Class Programme.

“To win three matches against three very good players, two of whom were ranked higher than me was, very pleasing. Leon Els went to the Rio Paralympics and Rody is the highest ranked player I’ve beaten this season, so to end without dropping a set was great.

“I had a few opportunities where I could have finished the final earlier in the second set and I served for the match at 5-4, but then found myself 0-40 down.

“I came back from that to deuce, but to then end up losing that game, I was pleased to go on and end the match with two solid games.”

After a 6-2, 7-5 first-round loss to British number and world number three Alfie Hewett at last month’s British Open in Nottingham, Bailey’s third singles title in his last five individual tournaments this season takes his career tally to 10 since winning his very first senior title in Sheffield in 2015.

He will now bid to add to that when he contests the Return Cup in Budapest, Hungary at the end of the month.

He added: “I’ve got two tournaments towards the end of the year where I have points to defend and two lots of two points on my total at the moment.

“So with a potential four tournaments to play before the end of the season, hopefully I can end the year near to the top 40, which would be nice.”

The Corby Tennis Centre player reached his career best ranking of number 38 in March 2016.