Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Matthew O'Boyle on the rise

Matthew and Laura's ideal start to season

Matthew O'Boyle on his way to the U-18 Ulster Indoor title

Matthew O'Boyle says a combination of natural development and hard work helped him to the Under-18 title at the Apex Clinic-sponsored Ulster Indoor championships held at David Lloyd.

The 15-year-old has shot up from 5ft 8' to 6ft 2' over the past 12 months and that certainly helped his serve when he came up against David Weir in a tight clash, which was one of the best matches of finals day.

The opening set went to a tie-break with both teenagers having chances to clinch it before Weir edged it 9-7.

As they traded forehands from the baseline, there was little between the two Bangor teenagers, though Weir edged towards the brink of victory when he had a match point at 5-4. But the chance came and went and another tie-break ensued with a big serve from O'Boyle clinching the set, 8-6.

Another close set was expected but after holding his own serve, O'Boyle then broke Weir's serve after a fine inside-out forced his opponent to net. He then raced away to take the set 6-1.

Bangor Grammar lad O'Boyle said: "I'm really pleased with the win. It's a bit funny that I lost in the Under-16 semis and then I win the Under-18 title.

"I feel that I'm getting stronger, my backhand was more solid and I felt my serve was working very well. The fact that I have shot up to 6ft 2' helps a bit, I think."

O'Boyle also won the Under-18 doubles with Noah Fleming, defeating Weir and Paul Bannigan 6-3 7-6.

O'Boyle's coach Paul Watt said: "Matt is developing a big game and he has a big future in tennis. There are no limits to what he can achieve. One of his best characteristics is his work ethic. He is getting mentally stronger and playing with more belief."

Weir, part of the Ulster College squad, recovered from the disappointment of the Under-18 defeat to land the Under-21 title. Weir defeated fellow Ulster squad member Drew Getty 6-2 6-2.

The girls Under-18 title went to Boat Club's Laura Reid – also a member of the Ulster squad.

Reid had come through a thriller on Friday night, reeling off five straight games to win a three-set semi-final with Caitlin McCullough and started very positively in the decider with Downshire's Emily Beatty.

The 15-year-old Aquinas Grammar student's aggression paid dividends as she held her opening serve and broke Beatty immediately.

Reid never looked back and clinched the title 6-2 6-2. She then completed a double success when she teamed up with Dubliner Eimear Maher in the Under-18 doubles decider.

Maher and Reid defeated Windsor McCullough twins, Annie and Caitlin McCullough 6-3 7-6.

Maher had earlier successfully defended her Under-16 title with a 6-1 6-0 victory over Bangor's Amy Rothwell.

Another Bangor lad, Chris Cree landed the boys Under-16 title. Having beaten O'Boyle in the semis, he then defeated Windsor's Jakob Robb 6-4 6-1 in the decider.

Other results: boys U-12: Joshua Moore bt Dylan Leeman 7-6 6-2; boys U-14: Ross McMaster bt Jordan McKeown 3-6 6-1 7-5; girls U-14: Jessica Leeman bt Jessica Moore 6-0 6-3.

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