Jessica and Jordan target more glory after Open triumphs
Jessica Leeman and Jordan McKeown will go into this week's Belfast City junior ITF tournament at Windsor with raised expectations following their impressive wins at the Racquet Lab Ulster Senior Open finals at the Boat Club on Saturday.
Leeman lifted the ladies' singles trophy for the first time after staging a remarkable comeback to defeat Caitlin McCullough 6-4, 2-6, 7-6, but McKeown's title defence was more straightforward as he overcame Cian McDonnell 6-3, 6-2.
Hawarden teenager Leeman looked to be staring defeat in the face when she conceded seven games in a row against McCullough but she dug deep to turn the tables after also saving a match-point when trailing 5-4 in the final set.
The 18-year-old said: "I was delighted with the win and it has given me a renewed sense of optimism going into the ITF tournament."
"A few weeks ago, I would probably have settled for a repeat of last year at Windsor when I reached the quarter-finals but now I am going to set the bar a little higher.".
"Against Caitlin on Saturday, my confidence dropped a little when I lost the second set and then when she broke me at the start of the third to go 2-0 up.
"But I just told myself there was no pressure as she is a more experienced player and I managed to settle myself. and close out the match."
McKeown, meanwhile, will be aiming to complete a title treble at the IITF after his second successive Boat Club title which came on the back of a first North of Ireland triumph a week previously.
The 18-year-old said: "I was delighted with the way I played against Cian so I am looking forward to the ITF even more now."
"However, I realise that it will be a step up in class for me, even in the early stages of the tournament with so many good players in the draw.".
McKeown will be joined in last 32 by Windsor's Will Millar, who came through qualifying yesterday along with 'wild cards' Harry Ellesmere, Dylan Leeman and Kyran Maguire.