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McKeown and Ralston have their sights on Dublin quarters

By John Flack

Local hopefuls Jordan McKeown and Caleb Ralston will have to pass difficult French tests today if they are to reach the quarter-finals of the junior ITF tournament in Dublin after impressive opening wins yesterday.

McKeown defeated Portugal's Evan Morgan 6-4 6-3, while Ralston beat Jamaican Louis Quaynor 6-2 6-4.

But the going is set to get tougher in the last-16 today for both players, particularly McKeown, who is up against top seed Giovanni Mpetshi Perricard, while Ralston takes on Leo Racquin.

However, McKeown is relishing the challenge after a tough match yesterday which enabled him to get used to the relatively unfamiliar hard courts at Riverview.

The 18-year-old said: "I had to hit a lot of balls, and the rallies were really long, so I got a really good feeling for the surface.

"In my next match, I will be focused on returning really well and on breaking his serve, and I will be really up for it going into the match believing that I can win.

"I was unfortunate to come off second best against Caleb at the ITF in Belfast last week but there were a few wrongs that I've been able to put right in preparation for this tournament.

"Once again, I look to take it one match at a time and hopefully I can play my best tennis although, obviously, I won't be the favourite, but that will suit me as I won't be expected to get past him."

While McKeown and Ralston progressed yesterday, there was only defeat for Co Down teenager Harry Ellesmere, who lost 6-3 6-4 to Italian Mattia Bernardi.

Local interest in the girls' singles came to an early end as seventh-seeded Jessica Leeman made a first-round exit, going down to a 7-5 6-1 loss to Switzerland's Mireia Fehr.

It was a disappointing result for the 18-year-old, who had reached the last-eight of the ITF tournament at Windsor last week.

Belfast Telegraph

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