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Matthew Robinson just one small step from title joy

By John Flack

Matthew Robinson is through to the U16 boy's singles final at the Clubworld Travel Ulster junior championship after another impressive win at the Boat Club yesterday. Having earlier dismissed the top seed Jared Monaghan, the Ballymena player defeated Ronan McKeever 6-3 6-4 in an excellent contest.

Robinson will now meet Windsor's Ben McClurg in the decider after he beat clubmate Jakob Robb 6-2 6-4 in the other semi.

"I played well and I think I have been improving with every match I have played this week, although it was very tough," said Matthew.

"I thought I moved around the court well and returned the ball accurately and I was able to put it into the corners but I feel there's still more in the tank."

Robinson surged into a 4-1 lead in the first set with the aid of a break and then it went to 5-2 after McKeever broke back before both won their service games.

After trailing 3-4 in the second he proceeded to reel off three games in a row to take the match.

There was a surprise in the girl's U18 event as defending champion Lucy Octave lost 6-4 6-4 to Annie McCullough, who will meet top seed Ruth Copas in today's decider after she beat Aisling O'Riordan 6-0 6-1.

In the corresponding boy's event, top seed Matthew McClurg is safely through to the final after a 6-4 6-2 win over Dundalk's Neil Jones.

McClurg will now face Noah Fleming, who beat second-ranked Alasdair Knox 6-4 6-2 in the other last four tie.

Later in the day, in a match interrupted by a heavy shower, McClurg defeated the same opponent 6-3 6-3 to lift the U21 title.

Results: boy's semi-finals: u-14: Harry Ellesmere bt Jacob Fleming 6-4, 6-2; Jordan McKeown bt Kyron Maguire 6-4, 6-0; U-16: Matthew Robinson bt Ronan McKeever 6-3, 6-4; Ben McClurg bt Jakob Robb 6-2, 6-4; U18: Matthew McClurg bt Neil Jones 6-4, 6-2; Noah Fleming bt Alasdair Knox 6-4, 6-2; U21 final: Matthew McClurg bt Neil Jones 6-3, 6-3.

Girls' U14: Jessica Leeman bt Lily Mae McKane 6-2, 6-4; Mary Parkash bt Caoimhe Smith 3-6, 7-6, 6-3; U16: Rachel Collins bt Amy Rothwell 6-3, 7-5; Lydia Kelly bt Laura Griffin 7-6, 6-4; U18: Ruth Copas bt Aisling O'Riordan 6-0, 6-1; Annie McCullough bt Lucy Octave 6-4, 6-4.

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