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McDonnell the last local man standing at ITF after biggest win

 

Winner: Cian McDonnell
Winner: Cian McDonnell

By John Flack

Cian McDonnell posted the biggest win of his short career yesterday when he defied the odds to reach the quarter-finals of the Belfast City Junior ITF tournament at Windsor.

The 18-year-old Boat Club ace staged a stunning comeback to defeat third seeded British player Matthew Rutter 3-6 6-1 6-4.

To put McDonnell's achievement into context, he went into the tournament world-ranked a staggering 1,698 places lower than his opponent.

It is the first time the St Patrick's, Knock student has reached the last eight after being knocked out in the second round last year at Windsor.

Naturally, McDonnell was delighted with his win which earns him a favourable draw against another unseeded player in Great Britain's Harry Collins today.

He said: "I am really happy to have got through, especially after losing the first set, but I just kept plugging away and, fortunately, I managed to get the win.

"I was able to make a few adjustments to my game in the next two sets and I stepped up the pace and intensity, so I was glad it paid off.

"I owe a big 'thank you' to my coach at the Boat Club, Carlos Miranda, for the work he has done with me and I am looking forward to the quarter-final now after what was definitely the highlight of my career so far."

Unfortunately McDonnell is the last Ulster survivor in the boys singles after Harry Ellesmere bowed out yesterday.

The Bangor teenager made too many unforced errors in losing 6-2 6-2 to fifth seeded British player Charlie Miller.

Meanwhile, newly-crowned Ulster senior champion Caleb Ralston is through to the quarter-finals of the Leinster Open after dismissing fourth seed Dorian Kos on a 6-3 6-4 scoreline in Dublin yesterday.

The Lurgan teen said: "I played well against a tricky opponent and managed to get the measure of his serve and I returned well."

The 18-year-old will now face eighth seed David Gardiner in the last eight tomorrow night.

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