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David Weir top of the class after hard-fought victory

By John Flack

David Weir is living the dream at the moment – and not just because he booked his place in the first round proper of the Keys Finance Ulster Senior Championship last night at the Boat Club.

The 18-year-old David Lloyd club member came through a marathon two-and-a-half-hour battle with Ballynafeigh's Justin Gilmore, winning 7-6, 2-6, 6-4.

But he has also secured a place on a tennis scholarship at the Pfeiffer University in North Carolina and will travel to the United States in the autumn.

"I am really looking forward to the prospect of playing for four years in Division Two of the Colleges circuit – I can't wait!" enthused the Bangor Grammar School student.

For now though the Ulster under 18 inter-pro player is keeping his feet on the ground after last night's epic victory which has earned him a meeting with fourth seed Karl Donaldson.

"It was a lot closer than I would have liked and Justin came out of the blocks really quickly – before I knew it I was 5-1 down in the first set," he added.

In another tight contest Portadown's Paul Calvert earned a date with sixth seed Tony Davison in the last 16 after beating CIYMS player Sumeet Kapur 7-6, 6-4.

It was a close run thing in both sets as Calvert edged the tie break 7-5 and then squandered a 4-1 lead as Kapur fought back to draw level.

But the younger of the two men won the next two games to close out the match and now he is looking forward to a day off.

Davison works as a television cameraman and is unavailable to play his first round match until tomorrow but Calvert isn't complaining.

The match between Boat Club's Ross McCarey and Kyle Watts, of Donaghadee, was even closer as the former qualified with a win in three sets, 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.

McCarey will now meet fifth seed Matthew McClurg in the first round proper tonight after coming through a two hour struggle.

The other two qualifying matches were not as close but entertaining nonetheless as Michael Blease and David Liggett progressed to the last 16 with straight sets wins.

CIYMS player Blease now has the unenviable task of facing top seed Przemek Stec after overcoming Ballynafeigh's David McCrystal 6-4, 6-4.

Liggett, who plays for Portadown, qualified to meet seventh seed Hans Henrik Enoksen following a 6-3, 6-2 win over David Lloyd junior starlet Ben McClurg.

Results: men's singles qualifying: Ross McCarey bt Kyle Watts 5-7, 6-2, 6-1; David Liggett bt Ben McClurg 6-2, 6-2; Paul Calvert bt Sumeet Kapur 7-6, 6-4; David Weir bt Justin Gilmore 7-6, 2-6, 6-4; David Liggett bt Ben McClurg 6-2, 6-2; Michael Blease bt David McCrystal 6-4, 6-4.

Men's singles B: David Frazer bt Damien Early 6-4, 6-3; Matthew McMullan bt Philip Stirling 6-0, 6-1; Thomas Kofron bt Andrew Moore 6-3, 3-6, 6-3;

Men's singles C: Stephen Strickland bt Eamonn McNamee 6-0, 6-0; Mark Wilson bt Declan McGilloway 6-0, 6-0; Prashat Hemady bt David Smith 6-0, 6-0;

Ladies singles B: Lisa Gilmore bt Judith Cole 6-3, 4-6, 6-0; Karla Courtney bt Joanne Corrigan 6-3, 6-0; Ailbhe Atkinson bt Jacqueline McClory 4-6, 6-4, 6-1; Betsy Campione bt Geraldine Fredlander 6-3, 6-3.

Ladies championship qualifying: Fiona Ludlow bt Mary Parkash 6-3, 6-2.

Men's doubles Championship: Daniel Bennett & David Liggett bt Tim Blomley & Godfrey Gaston 7-5, 3-6, 6-3.

Men's doubles B: Jordan Copeland & Matthew McMullan bt Paul Carlisle & Damien Earley 7-6, 6-1.

Men's doubles B: David Frazer & James Howe bt Stephen McCleary & Colin Watterson 6-2, 6-3.

Men's doubles C: David Smith & Mark Wilson bt Michael Kelly & John O'Callaghan 6-2, 6-1.

Ladies doubles Championship: Karola Bejenaru & Lucy Octave bt Christine Duncan & Fiona Ludlow 6-0, 6-0.

Mixed doubles B: Michael McClean & geraldine fredlander bt Donal burns & Myrta Grunning 6-1, 6-2.

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