Resilient Karola now one step from glory
Karola Bejenaru secured the biggest win of her short career last night at Carrickmines when she defeated top seed Rachael Dillon in straight sets to reach the final of the Co Dublin Championship.
The Windsor teenager beat the 26-year-old, a former professional who was ranked 675 in the world eight years ago, 7-6 6-2.
Karola will now meet Bulgarian player Mariyana Levova in this afternoon's final after staging a stunning comeback in the first set to help her beat the title favourite, who played for Ireland in the Federation Cup last year.
The 17-year-old trailed 5-1 in the tie break before reeling off the next six points in a row with some excellent serves and returns.
Boosted by that, she comfortably won the second to upset the odds and gain rich consolation after the bitter disappointment of her exit from Junior Wimbledon qualifying last month.
"I am absolutely delighted – I stayed focused and motivated and fought hard when I needed to. My serve, in particular, was good, and I managed to send down nine aces," Karola said.
Coach Przemek Stec was also ecstatic with his protegee's result.
"It was a great win – she needed it for her confidence. Rachael is a very good player and beat Karola 6-0 6-2 two years ago, so I am very proud of her," he said.
After that epic performance against the top seed, Karola, who is ranked third, will be confident of beating 23-year-old Levova.
Jakob Robb again defied the seedings at the Castleknock junior tournament to book his place in today's U-16 final.
Unseeded Robb had a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over second-ranked Emmet Moynihan and will now meet Luke Troy in the decider.