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Hudson shows his resilience as Ulster's young guns impress

 

By John Flack

Ulster players made a terrific start to the Irish Junior Open at Fitzwilliam in Dublin yesterday. Only one local lost on a day when play was seriously interrupted by heavy downpours, forcing several matches to be staged indoors at the David Lloyd club nearby.

Windsor's Jack Hudson was involved in the closest match of the day, coming from behind in the Under-16 event to beat Matthew Naughton 0-6 6-4 7-6.

In the same category, Harry Ellesmere beat Denis Popa 7-6 6-1 while Cian McDonnell had a 6-1 6-3 win over Adam Plunkett.

In the only blemish, at U14 level, fifth-seeded Ethan Hance lost 6-4 4-6 6-0 to Andrew O'Mahony. But Dylan Leeman and Freddy Murray kept the flag flying in the same event, the former beating Sean Keenan 6-2 6-0 while the latter defeated Josh Halpin 6-0 6-0.

The U18 singles get under way today and, if the seedings can be trusted, there could well be a local winner.

Peter Corrie is rated as the title favourite and he begins his campaign with what should be a straightforward win over Oisin O'Hanlon, who came through qualifying.

Jordan McKeown, who is seeded to meet his Ulster rival in the final, faces Windsor's Anton Robb today.

In the girls' U18 category, Jessica Leeman, who is seeded third, represents Ulster's best chance of lifting the title and she is awaiting the winner of today's all-Ulster clash between Megan Chambers and Chrissie Bahrani.

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal will overtake Andy Murray to reclaim the World No.1 ranking next week after Roger Federer announced his withdrawal from the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati with a back problem.

Only Federer could have prevented the Spaniard from returning to the summit for the first time since July 2014, with Murray guaranteed to be toppled as he continues his recuperation from a hip problem.

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