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Bejenaru relishing chance to shine on the big stage

By John Flack

Karola Bejenaru is to take part in her first professional tour event for more than a year next week following her quarter-final exit from a junior ITF world ranking tournament in Hungary yesterday.

The Romanian-born Windsor player was beaten 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 by Russian player Karine Sarkisova at the quarter-final stage.

But the 17-year-old was in positive mood as she reflected on her week's work which saw her earn much-needed ranking points after an injury break.

"It took me some time to get used to playing on clay again but I managed to stay pretty focused and determined so I am quite happy with the way it went although I was disappointed to have lost," she said.

Next weekend Bejenaru will take part in a $10,000 (£6,032) pro tour event in Lleida in Spain as she attempts to secure a world ranking at senior level.

It has been a rollercoaster few weeks for the teenager who missed out on a chance of a place in qualifying for the Junior US Open as she recovered from a hamstring injury.

She then had to sit out the senior inter-provincial tournament for the same reason and was only deemed fit enough to play doubles for Ulster U-18s at the junior tournament in Castlebar.

Then came that epic win over the top seed who is ranked 76 at the Hungarian ITF tournament earlier this week followed by yesterday's exit.

Now she has a chance of mixing it on a bigger stage in Spain next week and, according to her coach, Przemek Stec, she should have no fears on that account.

"She had a good win in a previous pro tour event and many of the girls she has played at junior level in the past are now competing in such tournaments," he said.

"When you get to this level it's not so much about ability but more about getting things right mentally and it appears Karola is moving in the right direction in that respect."

Back home the Ulster Junior Hard Court Championship continues today after a rest day with semi-final action and the finals take place at Windsor tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph


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