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Ellesmere and McDonnell fly flag for Ulster but stiffer tests await at Windsor

 

By John Flack

Harry Ellesmere and Cian McDonnell are through to the second round of the Belfast City junior ITF tournament after impressive opening wins at Windsor, but there were defeats for the other Ulster players yesterday.

Ellesmere had a hard-fought 7-6 6-3 victory over Latvian visitor Markuss Tions while McDonnell was a 6-1 6-2 winner over Serbia's Luca Teboul to earn himself a likely clash with third-seeded British player Matthew Rutter today, so he will have his work cut out to progress.

But McDonnell has been in terrific form over the past 12 months and reached the final of the prestigious Ulster Senior Open last year only to lose to Jordan McKeown before being called up to the senior interprovincial side for his debut at that level.

While the Boat Club player reached the same stage last year, for Ellesmere it was some long-awaited success at last after three previous attempts to get past the first round.

The 18-year-old former Irish national champion had to work hard for his long-awaited breakthrough.

The Bangor youngster went toe-to-toe with the Latvian in the first set, with all the games going with serve until Ellesmere held his nerve to win the tie-break 7-2.

He then broke his opponent's serve to go 5-3 up in the second before taking the next game and the match.

Ellesmere will now meet fifth-ranked British visitor Charlie Miller in the last-16, which promises to be an even more difficult assignment.

Ellesmere said: "It was a tough match but I'm delighted to have got through it and now there's no pressure on me in the second round.

"It looks like it will be even tougher as he is the fifth seed, but my coach Alex Watt watched him in action after my match, so he will have me well prepared and I'll give it my best shot."

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for the rest of the local contingent with defeats for Peter Galt, Rachel McCrum and Freddy Murray.

Donaghadee teen Galt went down 6-4 6-0 to British player Matthew Rankin, Murray lost 6-4 6-4 to Louie Fletcher (GB) while McCrum produced a terrific battle against Millie Mae Matthews (GB), bowing out on a 3-6 6-0 6-2 scoreline.

David Lloyd player McCrum has time on her side though, as she is just 15 and impressed earlier with two comeback wins after receiving a wildcard entry into qualifying.

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