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No birthday joy for Bothwell as he bows out in Devon

By John Flack

Peter Bothwell's rollercoaster week continued yesterday when he crashed out of the $15,000 tournament in Barnstable, Devon at the second round stage.

The Hillsborough man went down 6-2 2-6 6-2 to his occasional doubles partner Luke Johnson after being unable to achieve the same consistency displayed by his 23-year-old opponent.

It was hardly the ideal early birthday present for the Ulsterman, who turns 22 today, and, earlier in the week had cause to celebrate a new milestone in the sport.

The Irish Davis Cup player has reached a career-best ranking in both singles and doubles.

Bothwell is now listed at 658 in singles and 735 in doubles having reached the final of another £15k event in Roehampton last week.

However, on a disappointing day yesterday, Johnson took the first set comfortably and rediscovered his rhythm in the decider after Bothwell recovered to play his best tennis in the second set.

The Englishman's serve proved to be his most potent weapon as he sent down 10 aces.

He was also more clinical when it mattered most, converting two out of three break points in the final set and not allowing Bothwell any such opportunities in reply.

Meanwhile, there is an open invitation to everyone with an interest in the sport - players, parents, coaches and administrators - to attend and play an active role at a workshop tonight at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaw's Bridge in Belfast (7pm-9pm).

The event, the third in a series being held across the provinces, has been organised by Tennis Ireland to discuss the governing body's four-year strategic plan.

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