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Robb shows his resolve to reach the Co Antrim quarters

 

By John Flack

Jakob Robb was involved in one of the closest matches of the day as the quarter-final line-up was determined at the Co Antrim Championship in Ballycastle yesterday. The Windsor teenager overcame his fellow teen Ben Cree 6-1 5-7 6-0 to earn a meeting with second seed Gareth McGreevy in the last-eight today.

McGreevy - who now lives in Ballycastle, having grown up in Newcastle - used his recent experience on the grass courts in the Co Antrim seaside resort to easily dismiss Royal Belfast's David Cunningham 6-0 6-1.

However, Cunningham's son Rory had better fortunes as he progressed to the quarter-finals by beating Polish-born Ballycastle player Bartosz Kocjan 6-4 6-0.

Sixteen-year-old Rory will now face Adam Boyle in the other tie in the bottom half of the draw.

Boyle will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Nelson, a previous Co Antrim title winner, after booking his place in the last-eight with a tense three-sets win over Will Boyd.

Boyd, from the Downshire club in Hillsborough, took the first but the Larne man fought back to win an exciting tussle 2-6 6-2 6-2 in a marathon two-hour battle.

Top seed Aaron Stubbs advanced into the quarter-finals with a hard-fought win over local player Sean Moloney.

Moloney put up a brave struggle on his home courts but went out 6-2 6-4 in a match which featured long rallies and lasted all of 90 minutes.

Stubbs' chances of lifting the title for the fourth time in five years have been boosted by the absence of the player who beat him in last summer's decider, Karl Donaldson.

The Boat Club player, an Ulster senior inter-pro team-mate of the Donaghadee ace, is unavailable due to work commitments.

Standing in Stubbs' path to a place in the semi-finals today will be Justin Gilmore, who survived a tough encounter with Chris Madden-McKee.

Ballynafeigh ace Gilmore had to work extremely hard for his 7-5 6-4 success over the David Lloyd player.

The other quarter-final in the top half of the draw will be contested by Michael Blease and Ronan McKeever.

Blease, a runner-up to Donaldson at the Fermanagh Open recently, defeated teenager Kyran Maguire 6-4 6-1.

Enniskillen native McKeever had a 7-5 6-1 victory over 15-year-old Boat Club player Cian McDonnell, who produced a gutsy display against a more experienced opponent.

The ladies' singles quarter-final line-up was also confirmed yesterday.

Megan McGreevy, Amy Rothwell and Helen Harvey all earned the right to join the players who had already qualified or who had byes.

McGreevy, who is the sister of Gareth, kept alive hopes of a family double success with a straightforward 6-0 6-0 win over Shannon McMullan to set up a showdown with Annie McCullough.

Rothwell earned a date with Caitlin McCullough after a 6-1 6-1 win over Irvinestown's Donna McSorley.

Harvey defeated Sinead McNally 6-0 6-2 and will now face second seed Christine Duncan, while title favourite Kerri Russell will play Polish-born Ballymena rival Agata Jankowska.

Belfast Telegraph

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