Rafa Hewett playing pickleball.
Rafa Hewett competing at the Fanatics Sportsbook North Carolina Cup presented by CIBC. PPA Tour

Hewett, Howells upset Wright, Ignatowich to make quarters

ATASCOCITA, TX - Rafa Hewett and Will Howells are making quite a splash in their first tournament together. The tandem is into the quarterfinals after their 10-12, 11-7, 11-6 victory over No. 2 seeds James Ignatowich and Matt Wright.

Hewett and Howells watched as a 5-0 lead in Game 1 disappeared, but they made a tactical change after losing that game that helped them rebound.

“We talked and decided that we needed to slow the ball down and get to the kitchen,” Hewett explained. “Once we got in there, we felt pretty comfortable moving our dinks around.”

Slowing things down proved to be the key for the No. 13 seeds, but they still found ways to play into their strengths in the match’s crucial moments.

“We’re both very explosive players, and we probably tried to do a little too much with that in Game 1,” Howells said. “So, we decided to focus a little more on the fundamentals after that while still trying to utilize our explosiveness when we had opportunities to.”

Carried by well-timed attacks and counters, Hewett and Howells convincingly took the final two games to stay alive in Houston.

They’ll face No. 7 seeds Christian Alshon and Tyler Loong in the quarterfinals.