The rise and rise of Kettering wheelchair tennis star Dermot Bailey reached new heights last weekend as the 25-year-old British No.3 reached his first ITF 2 Series men’s singles final in the USA.
Bailey, who is part of the LTA’s GB Wheelchair Tennis World Class Performance Programme, had never beaten a player ranked inside the world’s top 12 until starting his campaign at the PTR Championships on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
But a second victory in two months over Australia’s former world No.10 Ben Weekes set up a quarter-final against second seed and world No.11 Daniel Rodrigues of Brazil, a test that Bailey came through 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Fourth seed and world No.15 Agustin Ledesma of Argentina was Bailey’s semi-final opponent, but again the Northamptonshire player excelled to book his place in the final after a 6-4, 6-4 victory. Only Japanese third seed Takashi Sanada prevented Bailey from lifting the title, with the former world No.7 claiming the final 6-2, 6-2.
Bailey, who has moved up three places in this week’s world rankings to a new career-best of No.28, said: "I’m really, really happy with the week on Hilton Head. My first time getting to an ITF 2 final and beating some top players like Rodrigues and Ledesma along the way is certainly beyond what I could’ve expected
“I’m a bit surprised with how well it went as I haven’t beaten Rodrigues or before. But I knew I was playing well in training, so it’s great to see that translate into performances in matches.”
Bailey, who is only making his second visit to North America, now contests this week’s ITF 3 Tennis Canada International in Montreal, which starts today (Thursday).