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Errors prove costly for Karola, while Jessica shows grit

 

By John Flack

Karola Bejenaru made a first-round exit from the ITF $15,000 tournament at Fitzwilliam in Dublin yesterday. The Windsor player lost 7-6 6-1 to Rosalie van der Hoek, a Dutch woman who has a higher world ranking than Bejenaru but is regarded as a doubles specialist.

The 20-year-old Belfast-based Romanian did have her chances in the first set when she led 4-1 at one stage, but Van der Hoek recovered to force a tie-break in which Bejenaru had a set point at 6-4. But she was unable to convert and went on to lose the tie-break 8-6 before capitulating in the second set.

Hillsborough's Peter Bothwell has landed a tough draw in the men's $25k tournament at the same venue. The 21-year-old will face top seed Frenchman Laurent Lokoli.

Bothwell's younger brother Sam will be up against Sweden's Niklas Johansson.

Meanwhile, Jessica Leeman survived a tough three-set battle to book her place in the second round of the Belfast City junior ITF tournament at Windsor yesterday.

The Hawarden player came back from a break of serve down in the final set to defeat French ace Kyhra Ghemires 7-6 1-6 6-3.

Leeman, who won the doubles at last week's ITF at Malahide, will face British player Monica Raviraj in the last 16 today.

Leeman edged the first set tie-break in somewhat controversial circumstances, winning 8-6 after coming from a break and 4-2 down.

The Ulster girl also had to dig deep during the tie-break after trailing 5-2 at one stage before regaining her composure.

Leeman called a return from the French player out when on set point but her opponent didn't agree. The court supervisor eventually allowed the call to stand after a delay of five minutes.

Ghemires easily won the second set and it didn't look good when the local girl went 3-2 down in the decider. However, once again she responded.

She said, "She had a huge serve, which I noticed when she sent down two aces early in the match, but fortunately she crumbled a little in the final set.

"But I have a lot of improving to do before my next match and I will have to work hard on my return of serve.

"I played poorly in the second set and I thought I was going to lose when I was broken in the third but I was able to hang in and get into the next round."

On a good day for the Ulster girls in the main draw, Mary Parkash secured her first junior world ranking point with an impressive 6-4 6-2 win over Sweden's Sofia Johansson.

In the boys' singles, Jordan McKeown is the sole local survivor after defeats for Anton Robb and Ben McClurg.

McKeown, who won the Ulster senior title last month, eliminated Malaysian Nauful Kamaruzzaman 6-1 6-1. He will now meet top-seeded Briton Tad MacLean, who beat McClurg 6-1 6-4.

Windsor ace McClurg gave a good account of himself, breaking serve twice in the second set.

Robb, meanwhile, lost 6-2 6-3 to Jamaica's Louis Quaynor.

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