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Brave Bothwell is out of luck in Dublin doubles final


By John Flack

Sam Bothwell's quest for a first professional title continues after he lost out in the doubles final at the $15,000 ITF Futures 2 tournament in Dublin last night.

Playing with Australian Edward Bouchier, the Hillsborough teenager went down 6-2 2-6 (10-3) to his partner's brother Harry and compatriot Daniel Nolan.

Bothwell and his team-mate fought back well after losing the first set as they led 4-0 in the second before taking the match into a tie-break after exchanging breaks of serve.

However, they lost too many points on their own serve in the sudden-death decider when the first to 10 points by a margin of two or more is declared the winner.

Bothwell said: "Naturally, we were disappointed to lose but at least we were competitive.

"We lost any momentum we had gained by winning the second set when my partner's brother took a toilet break before the tie-break and, to be fair, they returned our serve very well," added Bothwell.

Meanwhile, Jordan McKeown added his name to the small band of players who can claim to be a double Ulster champion in the same year after lifting the Under 18 Boys Singles title at the Boat Club yesterday.

The 17-year-old, who is a member of the Co Down-based AGP tennis academy, defeated Dundalk visitor Oisin Murtagh 4-6 6-4 6-3 in the Ulster Junior Open final.

Last month McKeown was crowned Ulster senior champion at the same venue when he beat six-times winner Przemek Stec in the decider when the Pole was forced to retire in the first set with an arm injury.

He said: "I suppose the senior win was a bit hollow at the time before it sunk in but it feels even better to win the junior title as I had to work really hard for it and to have done the double is great.

"It's always harder when you lose the first set but I began to read his first serve better as the match progressed and I felt I could win if I took it into a third," he said.

"He made a couple of unforced errors and then served a double fault allowing me to break him to go 4-3 up and I had the measure of him then and didn't look back, winning the next three games in a row."

The Girls' Ulster Junior Open U-18 trophy went to Bangor's Amy Rothwell, who certainly boosted her chances of a place in the Ulster senior inter-pro team with a 6-4 6-0 win over top seed Jessica Leeman.

Rothwell said: "That was my first win over Jessica in over a year so it was great to do it at my last Ulster Junior Open as I am now 18."

The Belfast City ITF Junior Singles titles both went to English visitors at Windsor yesterday, Erin Anderson defeating compatriot Elisa van Meeteren 6-1 6-3 in the girls final while Bradley Buckland was 3-2 up on Scotland's Conor Thomson in the boys decider when his opponent was forced to retire with a back injury.

Ulster Junior Open finals: Boys Under 10: Dylan Maxwell bt Finn Thompson 7-6 ret; U-10 yellow ball: Reese McCann bt Josh Osborne 6-2, 6-1; U-12: Cian Hurst bt David Armstrong 6-2, 6-0; U-14: Ethan Hance bt Johnny McCracken 3-6, 6-4, 6-3; U-16; Cian McDonnell bt Cathal Butler 7-5, 6-4; U-18: Jordan McKeown bt Oisin Murtagh 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Girls: U-10: Niamh Lowry bt Chrissy Hopkins 6-3, 6-4; U-12: Georgia L'Estrange bt Caoimhe McDonnell 7-5, 6-2; U-14: Rachel McCrum bt Ciara Hill 6-1, 6-2; U-16: Rebecca McCabe bt Amberlie Collins 6-1, 6-1; U-18: Amy Rothwell bt Jessica Leeman 6-4, 6-0.

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