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Bejenaru is confident of retaining Irish crown

By John Flack

Karola Bejenaru looks set to end the year on a high after she reached the final of the Irish National Indoor Championship in Dublin yesterday.

The 18-year-old Windsor player, defending the title she won 12 months ago, defeated Anna Bowtell 7-6 6-2.

It was her toughest test to date in the defence of her trophy after she had earlier dismissed her Ulster inter-provincial team-mate Lucy Octave in the last-eight.

Bejenaru said: "She is a tall girl with a big serve and she hit the ball really hard but I am just happy to have reached the final again."

She will now meet Julie Byrne, who had earlier defeated Bejenaru's club mate Caitlin McCullough in three sets at the quarter-final stage.

It will be a repeat of last year's decider which the Romanian-born Windsor player won 6-4 6-2 so she will start favourite today to confirm her top seeding and retain her title.

"I expect it to be tougher this time around because Julie wasn't at her best last year but I am reasonably confident I can beat her again," she added.

Lurgan player Caleb Ralston has also been having a good week in Dublin as he qualified for the Under-16 national final with a hard-fought victory yesterday.

He defeated Ammar Alamin 6-3 3-6 6-4 and will now face top seed Adebola Obasotu in today's showpiece.

However, there was disappointment for two other local players in the Irish junior competition as both Peter Corrie and Jessica Leeman made their exit at the semi-final stage.

Hawarden player Leeman lost 6-0 6-1 to Zara Ryan in the Under-16 singles while Corrie, from Hilden, went down 7-5 6-2 to James Tarrant in the last four of the Under-18 event.

Belfast Telegraph


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