Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

Deegan vows to serve up real shock

Shock factor: Lauren Deegan is eyeing a surprise result

Bubbly Lauren Deegan believes she can pull off an upset today and bring what has been a breakthrough week for the Dubliner to a perfect end by defeating Karola Bejenaru at Windsor.

Deegan, an outsider at the start of the tournament, marched into the final with a 6-2 6-0 victory over Israel's May Kimhi, who like the Dubliner was appearing in her first ITF semi-final.

The 15-year-old has taken her game to a new level this week, knocking out the number seven and number two seeds and her positivity has been evident throughout.

Even when there was a delay and she had to switch surfaces from Windsor to the indoor courts at David Lloyd it didn't cause her any real concern.

"After winning the first set so well it was annoying that we had to move courts because of the rain but it was the same for both of us. I'd like to have kept playing but I handled it and the other surface was still quick even though it was a bit sticky," said Deegan, who is relishing the chance of facing Bejenaru on her home court.

"It's my first ITF final and I'm so pleased and excited. I didn't expect to be in the final when I was coming up this week.

"It's going to be a tough final of course, Karola is playing very well but hopefully it will be a good match.

"I have been very positive and I have worked very hard and I will give it my best shot.

"This is going to be a great occasion for me – overall this week will give me a lot of confidence for the future."

As for Israeli Kimhi, she remained upbeat as she prepared to travel home to Tel Aviv before then flying to Romania for another ITF.

Kimhi said: "I have really enjoyed the event here and I want to come back next year and win it."

Meanwhile, Mason Recci eased through to the final of the boys event with a 6-4 6-3 victory over fellow British lad Lucas Taylor 6-4 6-3.

Recci, the number one seed from Edgbaston, will start as the favourite to win the final against Ben Stride who came through a tough encounter with Luke Oakley, 1-6 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, Irish president Ann O'Connor was at courtside yesterday and she hailed the event as a big success.

"Ulster plays such a crucial part in Irish tennis that it is great to have the ITF here," she said.

"All the players seemed to have enjoyed it and there is a great feel and atmosphere about the tournament."

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