Ulster Indoor Championships: Laura Reid wins a thriller
Laura Reid came back from the brink of exiting the Apex Clinic-sponsored Ulster Indoor Championships to seal her place in the final of the under-18s yesterday.
Windsor girl Caitlin McCullough found herself in a second thriller in the space of 24 hours having defeated Eimear Maher after a three-set duel and almost pulled another fine win.
After a couple of breaks of serve in the opening set, Reid went 4-1 ahead and then took it 6-3 but then came a huge shift in momentum as McCullough came storming out of the blocks at the start of the second – breaking her opponent to go 3-0 ahead.
Just as it seemed as if McCullough would easily tie up the match, Reid dug in and broke back to only trail 3-2. They traded some heavy blows from the back of the court with McCullough edging the set 6-4.
With her confidence high, McCullough forced many errors off the Reid racquet and went 5-2 ahead but then came the fightback as the Aquinas Grammar girl went for broke and brought herself level at 5-5.
Reid then continued to be more aggressive and took the deciding set 7-5.
Windsor coach Przemek Stec said: "That was a superb match. I thought both girls played really well and as a match it was one of the best girls' matches I have seen in Ulster for a while.
"I thought Caitlin played with real purpose, both her and her sister Annie have always had potential but now they are winning the big points.
"Credit to Laura, she showed grit because when she was right up against it she came through to win."
Reid will today face Downshire's Emily Beatty in the under-18 decider after she defeated Caitlin's twin Annie in the other semi, 6-4 6-3.
The McCulloughs will also face Reid and Dubliner Eimear Maher in the under-18 doubles final.
Maher will defend her under-16 title in today's decider with Bangor's Amy Rothwell.
Rothwell dominated her semi-final with Enniskillen's Sarah Cousins from the start, winning 6-1 6-0, while Maher defeated Jessica Leeman – the under-14 finalist –6-0 6-0.
Another exciting duel yesterday came in the boys under-16s as Windsor player Jakob Robb showed his mettle to come from behind to overcome Jared Monaghan.
Monaghan took the first set 7-5 and seemed in control of the match but Robb raised his game and took the next two sets 6-0 6-3 to set up a final battle with Bangor lad Chris Cree who defeated Matthew O'Boyle 6-2 6-3.
Bangor Grammar student O'Boyle had earlier produced a fine performance to secure his place in the under-18 final against David Weir.
Hard hitting O'Boyle edged a tight duel with Ardghal Macmahon 6-3 6-4.
Weir is aiming for a double today as he made the under-18 final with a 6-1 6-1 win over Ben Cree having made the under-21 final where today he faces fellow Ulster College player Drew Getty, who defeated Stefan Losty 6-0 6-2.