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Aaron Stubbs opens his Antrim title defence in style

By John Flack

Aaron Stubbs opened his men's singles title defence at the Co Antrim Senior Championship in straightforward fashion at Ballycastle yesterday.

The Donaghadee player overcame Downshire's Will Boyd 6-4 6-1 to earn a meeting with Rostrevor teenager Ardghal MacMahon in the second round.

Stubbs broke serve to seize the initiative in the first set and ran out a comfortable winner with a stylish display in the second.

The 20-year-old, a former Ulster junior champion, has fond memories of the Ballycastle tournament which is played mainly on real grass as he strives to continue his impressive run.

"It was the first senior tournament that I ever won so it is a bit special to me and I will be doing all I can to make it three successes in a row," said Stubbs, the top seed. "But I am not looking that far ahead just now and Ardghal has a big serve and I am expecting a tough match."

Stubbs' opponent in last year's final, second-ranked Karl Donaldson, is through after defeating Rory Cunningham 6-1 6-2.

Another of the teenage contingent competing in the senior category, David Weir, made it through with a 6-2 6-2 win over Larne's Matthew Gilbert.

In the ladies' singles, top seeds Helen Harvey, who is the title favourite, and second-ranked Christine Duncan will start their campaigns later in the week.

The closest match of the opening day took place in the boys' Under-14 singles in which Ballycastle lad Fergal McKiernan defeated Ballymena's Tristan Ferguson 1-6 6-2 7-5.

Belfast Telegraph


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