Slick Alex Watt hopes to shoot down Stec in final
Alex Watt will today bid to become the first local man in seven years to lift the men's singles title at the prestigious Keys Finance Ulster Senior Championship at the Boat Club.
The Hilden player will face three-times champion Przemek Stec in the final at the Stranmillis venue after both men came through their semi-finals in straight sets.
Watt, the second seed, defeated Donaghadee's Aaron Stubbs 7-6, 6-2 while tournament favourite Stec, the Polish-born Windsor player, beat Karl Donaldson, from the host club, 6-1, 6-3.
Donaldson, seeded fourth, had no answer to Stec's blistering power and although he produced a battling display there was to be no upset as the tie on the Centre Court went with the form book.
Watt's victory was slightly less straightforward and, at 4-1 down in the first set tie break, it looked that Stubbs was in with a chance of beating his coach, or at least, taking the match the distance.
The Lisburn man had been serving for the set after breaking to go 6-5 ahead before Stubbs fought back to force the tie break.
But his forehand let him down as Watt reeled off six points in a row in the decider to take the first set. Games went with serve in the second until Watt broke in the sixth game to go 4-2 up and after that he produced his best tennis of the match. "At 4-1 down in the tie break I thought I was going to maybe lose the first set but I hung in there and I think Aaron became a bit deflated after he went a break down in the second," said Watt.
Watt played Stec in the decider in 2012 when he lost 7-6, 6-3.
He knows that the odds are stacked against him as only one local player, two times Ulster champion Nelson Boyle and the last local man to lift the trophy back in 2007, has ever beaten the Pole.
Meanwhile, Karola Bejenaru, who is coached by Stec, will meet Lucy Octave in the ladies singles final as all four of last night's semis went with the seeding.
Romanian-born Bejanaru, who will be bidding for her third title in a row, defeated her Windsor club mate Lydia Kelly 6-2, 6-0 while Octave, from Donaghadee, beat Ballynafeigh's Christine Duncan 6-2, 6-2.
Results: Men's Championship singles: semi-finals: Przemek Stec by Karl Donaldson 6-1, 6-3; Alex Watt bt Aaron Stubbs 7-6, 6-3.Men's B singles: semi-finals: Lawrence McMahon bt Steven McDowell 2-6, 6-2, 6-3; Tomas Kofron bt Stephen Johnston 6-3, 6-3. Men's C singles: semi-finals: Russell Proctor bt Mark Wilson 6-3, 6-1; Stephen Strickland bt Jonathan Quinn 6-2, 6-3. Ladies Championship singles: semi-finals: Karola Bejenaru bt Lydia Kelly 6-2, 6-0; Lucy Octave bt Christine Duncan 6-2, 6-2. Ladies B singles: semi-finals: Karla Courtney bt Catherine Kelly 6-2, 3-6, 7-5; Betsy Campione bt Lauren Stead 6-3, 6-2. Mixed Doubles B: semi-finals: Andrew Moore & Lisa Wallace bt Lee Irvine & Emma Dornan 6-1, 6-4. Mixed Doubles C semi-finals: James Simpson & Brenda McCleary bt John McCambridge & Sorcha Wolsey 6-1, 6-1.