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Jordan and Caitlin eyeing more silverware

 

By John Flack

Jordan McKeown and Caitlin McCullough are targeting more glory after becoming the first Ulster players to win their respective singles titles at the Johnson Campbell North of Ireland Open in Hillsborough on Saturday.

Bangor teenager McKeown defeated second seeded Waterford visitor Morgan Lohan 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to lift the men's trophy, while McCullough (Windsor) was a 6-4, 6-2 winner over Ballynafeigh's Christine Duncan in the ladies showpiece.

This week, both players will be attempting to add more silverware to their collection at the Racquet Lab Ulster Senior Open championship at the Boat Club.

McKeown (18) is the title holder after winning the event for the first time last year while McCullough, seeded second behind Jessica Leeman, has yet to make the breakthrough.

With the unfortunate withdrawal of four-time finalist Alex Watt due to a knee injury, McKeown has assumed the mantle of title favourite but is taking nothing for granted.

He said: "It's disappointing for Alex, who would have had high hopes of winning the title for the first time, but there are still a lot of good players in the draw."

"Cian McDonnell is having a great season as is Harry Ellesmere, who is seeded to meet me in the final but, before I can even think about that, I have to get past Aaron Stubbs, who has played senior tennis for Ulster."

"However, winning at Hillsborough on Saturday has come as a boost so I am really looking forward to playing at the Boat Club now.

"Even after I lost the first set, I was still confident of turning things around as I was playing well and it was very close.

"Having a rain break at 2-2 in the second set was no bad thing as I was able to get a few tips from my coach and make a few adjustments to my game."

McCullough (20) also had to come from behind to beat Duncan as she recovered from 4-1 down in the first set to win the next 10 games in a row to end up a comfortable winner.

She said: "From playing college tennis in the United States over the past couple of years, I have improved the mental approach to my game."

"I had also been 4-1 down in an earlier match with Emily Beatty and came back to win it so I didn't panic, played well and I'm delighted to have pulled off the biggest win of my career."

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