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Jessica is on the way up after reaching doubles final

 

By John flack

Jessica Leeman is set to climb up the world junior rankings after reaching the doubles final at the ITF Under-18 tournament in Malahide, Co. Dublin yesterday. The Hawarden teenager forged a winning partnership with Zara Ryan as the pair defeated another Irish combination in the shape of Georgia Lily Lynn-Browne and Ciara O'Toole in a tense three-setter.

The north-south team were pushed all the way before eventually coming out on top 7-5 6-7 (10-7) following a championship tie-break in the third set.

The result will come as rich consolation for 17-year-old Leeman, who had the misfortune to be drawn against top-seeded Federation Cup player Anna Bowtell in the second round of the girls' singles event at the ITF tournament.

Leeman and Ryan will now meet an Estonian pair, second seeds Lissi Kubre and Gendra Raag, in the final.

It will be Leeman's first appearance in an ITF decider and, with singles and doubles ranking points combined at junior level, she will move up the world list.

The top-level competition she has received this week at Malahide should also stand her in good stead as she prepares to take part in the City of Belfast event at Windsor next week.

However, Peter Corrie will be unable to defend his title at the south Belfast venue having been double-booked, albeit for a positive reason.

Corrie, who won his first ITF trophy 12 months ago, has been picked for a three-strong Ireland Under-18 team for the European Championship being staged in Switzerland next week.

The 17-year-old Hilden player will be making his debut at this level, although he has previously represented his country at the Home Nations tournament.

Corrie was delighted at his call-up, having beaten Neil O'Connor in a play-off to secure his place as the only male in the line-up for a tournament which has been won in the past by tennis legends like Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl.

He said: "Obviously I am thrilled to be picked for Ireland for such a prestigious event, although the competition will be extremely tough, I am certain.

"It's a huge honour and I am really looking forward to pitting my wits against some of the best players in Europe, although I am disappointed not to be able to be in a position to defend my ITF title in Belfast.

"It's an unfortunate clash of dates but there's another ITF junior tournament in Dundalk the following week, so hopefully the experience I gain in Switzerland will stand me in good stead for that."

Meanwhile, the action at the Tyrone Senior Championship is set to hot up later this week when Lucy Octave is scheduled to meet Ballycastle winner Kerri Russell in the final.

Belfast Telegraph

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