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Final is one match too far for tired Bothwell

By John Flack

Peter Bothwell will take a well deserved break for a couple of days after an exhausting weekend which culminated in a narrow defeat in the Irish Close final at Donnybrook.

The 18-year-old, who is based at the Soto Academy in Spain, lost 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 to top seed Lazare Kukhalashvili, who was able to play in the tournament as he is Irish-qualified having lived here for more than three years.

Bothwell had every right to feel tired as it was his second match of the day, having played a Leinster Premier League title decider with Malahide in the morning, and he was also involved in two three-setters on Friday night at Donnybrook in both singles and doubles.

"I played really well in the league match in the morning to beat Davis Cup player Barry King 7-6, 7-5 and I was very disappointed not have won the Irish Close but Lazo proved too strong." he said.

A very tight first set went into a tie break in which Bothwell went 3-0 ahead and he maintained his advantage to move ahead.

The Georgian broke the Ulsterman's serve in the first game of the second set and ran out a comfortable winner to send the match into the decider.

Games went with serve to 2-2 in the third and then both men broke each other's before Kukhalashvili broke again at 5-5 and served out to take the title.

The Hillsborough teenager, who receives funding from the Mary Peters Trust, picked up a runners up cheque of £400 for his efforts.

But world ranking points will be his priority over the coming weeks as he returns to the professional tour.

"I am taking two days off and I will then go back down south to practise on grass as I have entered two competitions in England before I play in the Irish Futures tournament in Dublin." he added.

Meanwhile, there was also disappointment for Mary Parkash who went down 6-0, 4-6, 10-5 to top seed Shauna Heffernan in the Leinster Junior Open U14 final.

Belfast Telegraph

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