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Ireland hopefuls O'Connor and Elamin beat heat to reach finals


By John Flack

The sizzling temperatures forced play to be held up in yesterday's Belfast City junior ITF tournament but two Irish competitors made light of the searing heat to reach today's finals.

Hawarden player Jessica Leeman's quarter-final conqueror and top seed, Taylor Cataldi, fell to a shock defeat yesterday.

The American went down 4-6 6-1 4-6 to Aisling O'Connor, who will face Great Britain's Alicia Dudeny in today's girls' singles final.

Third-ranked Leinster player and Ireland's No.1 at Under-18 level, Ammar Elamin, also made it through with a hard-fought 7-6 1-6 6-2 win over Italy's Mattia Bernardi.

Elamin will meet fourth seeded Jamaican Luke Quaynor in today's boys' singles final.

With temperatures on court reaching 32 degrees centigrade, the players were allowed a 10-minute break between the second and third sets to cool down.

Tournament Director Simon McFarland explained: "The referee made the call as the heat was causing a health and safety risk for the players who were involved in three-setters and the temperature was rising by the minute."

"It's certainly a first for the tournament , which has had plenty of rain breaks in the past."

Meanwhile, 2013 Belfast junior ITF champion,Karola Bejenaru, who now plays on the professional tour, bowed out of a $15,000 tournament in Portugal yesterday.

The 20-year-old Romanian-born Windsor player went down 3-6 1-6 to Portugal's Maria Koehler in the second round.

Belfast Telegraph


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