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Karola hails title glory as career high

By Robert Fenton

Karola Bejenaru and Jakob Robb were the toast of Windsor Tennis Club in Dublin at the weekend as they both returned home with tournament victories.

Seventeen-year-old Karola lifted the Co Dublin senior title at Carrickmines while Jakob also defied the odds and the seedings to claim the West Dublin U-16 crown at Castleknock.

Karola's result certainly laid to rest the bitter disappointment she had suffered at Junior Wimbledon when she failed to qualify for the main draw.

She put Saturday's result – a 6-3 7-5 win over Bulgaria's Mariana Levova – down as one of the best of her short career.

It came 24 hours after she had dismissed the top seeded former world 675 Rachael Dillon in the semi-final, also in straight sets.

"I am really happy with my week's work – in the final I played well, stayed confident," said the teenager. "It was a big win for me as it was a big competition with some good players, mostly in the semis and the final.

"So I knew it was going to be tough but I went down there and played some of my best tennis.

"I was really happy with my level of performance throughout the whole week so hopefully I can build on it in future tournaments.

"I have won some senior tournaments in Dublin before but this win was certainly among my best so far in my career."

Karola's coach Przemek Stec was understandably also delighted with his protege's progress since Junior Wimbledon.

"It has been a while since she has won a tournament so it will do her confidence a world of good," he commented.

"I always though she was capable of beating Mariana so the semi-final win over Rachael was the key for me.

"She had lost to her twice before, once quite easily and the second time less so and she (Dillon) is a very good player.

"We chatted after Wimbledon and we agreed that Karola needed to improve her mental game and not get too disappointed when she lost and at the same time not get too excited when she won.

"She has obviously taken all of that on board and learned from the experience."

Karola will be contesting the Co Tyrone Championship later this month before defending her titles at the upcoming ITF Junior ranking tournaments at Donnybrook and at Windsor.

Meanwhile, Robb defeated three seeded players en route to winning the West Dublin title with a 6-3 4-6 6-1 win over third-ranked Luke Troy.

"Luke played aggressively at the start and was difficult to contain but I managed to stay focused, get back into the match and turn it round," he said.

"It was a very enjoyable tournament and the organisers were really friendly and helpful so a big thank you to them."

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