Class act Lauren Deegan hopes she can have final say
Lauren Deegan will be hoping to go one better than last year when she faces Georgia Drummy in today's Belfast City ITF junior tournament girls singles final at Windsor.
In yesterday's semi-finals, fifth seed Deegan defeated Dundalk girl Aoife Tonna-Barthet 7-5, 6-1 while Drummy beat eighth-ranked Jennifer Timotin 7-6, 3-6, 6-0.
Deegan lost to Karola Bejenaru in last year's decider but the Romanian was unable to defend her title as she had to pull out of the competition due to a hamstring injury.
Deegan has a 2-1 success record in previous head-to-heads with the Blackrock teenager but says that will count for little today.
"Georgia will be tough to beat as she is an extremely powerful hitter and the previous matches between us have been close," she said.
"But it would be amazing to win my first ITF final after the disappointment of last year so I am really looking forward to it."
"Karola simply powered me off the court but I am sorry she hasn't been able to take part in the tournament on her home courts this year," added 16-year-old Deegan.
Drummy has been in good form all week and she will be hoping to reproduce the sort of display she produced in the third set of her win over Timotin.
"I played my best tennis of the match in the final set when Jenny made a few mistakes but I wasn't so good in the second and I didn't serve as well as I can so there is room for improvement," she said.
"Lauren has a good serve and back hand but I just want to focus on getting my own game right."
There will be local interest in the girls doubles final when Drummy and Timotin square up to Annie and Caitlin McCullough.
The twins, who play for Windsor, booked their place in the final with a 6-3, 5-7, (10-5) win over Deegan and Marija Povilionyte.
"It's been a great week for the girls and the fact they have now got world ranking points means they stand a much better chance of getting into the main draws of similar events in future." said their coach Sam Armstrong.
"They are playing some great doubles with some great team work and they did well to come back in the tie break after losing a 3-0 lead in the second set."
The boys singles final will be an Irish-Scottish contest between top seed Osgar O'Hoisin and unranked Edinburgh teenager Ewan Moore, who won the corresponding match at Donnybrook last week in two sets.
"There wasn't much between us with just a single service break in each set but he's very quick around the court and I will try to move him around it as much as possible." said O'Hoisin.
"I have been trying to improve with every match this week and I think I have been able to do that so, hopefully, I can reverse last week's result.
"Having played Ewan last week in the ITF at Donnybrook, I know more about his game but, of course, he knows more about mine as well so it should be interesting."
Belfast City ITF junior tournament: boys singles semi-finals: (GBR unless stated):
Osgar O'Hoisin (Irl) bt Vuk Budic (USA) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3; Ewan Moore bt Luke Hammond 6-3, 6-2.
Doubles semi-finals: James Davis & Lucas Taylor 3-6, 6-3, (10-7); Luke Henry & Ewan Moore bt Luke Hammond & Giles Hussey 6-4, 6-4.
Girls singles semi-finals: (IRL unless stated): Lauren Deegan bt Aoife Tonna-Barthet 7-5, 6-1; Georgia Drummy bt Jennifer Timotin 7-6, 3-6, 6-0.
Doubles semi-finals: Drummy & Timotin bt Karin Kozlejova (SVK Timea Pavlickova (SVK) 6-3, 6-4; Annie & Caitlin McCullough bt Deegan & Marija Povilionyte (LTU) 6-3, 5-7, (10-5).