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Peter Bothwell keeps family flag flying

By David Kelly

Peter Bothwell hailed the influence of grandfather Sammy Tuff after making it through to the quarter-finals of the Topaz-sponsored Belfast City ITF event at Windsor Tennis club.

Tennis is in the blood of the Bothwell clan – Sammy the doyen of coaching in Northern Ireland coaching Peter's mum Louise to junior Wimbledon in the 1970s. Now Peter and younger brother Sam – who had to pull out of his second round match due to injury – are carrying on the tradition now with success on the international junior scene.

Immediately after defeating Shamael Chaudhry, Peter glanced to the balcony as he walked off court where he was hailed by grandparents Sammy and Eileen, who had naturally cheered many of his winners.

"It's great to have my granddad there to support me, I love having him there because he has so much knowledge about tennis.

"He's 82 so he has seen so much tennis and seen it at the highest level," said Peter, who defeated Chaudhry 6-3 6-2, to set up a last eight clash with Luke Oakley.

"As soon as I come off after every match my granddad will tell me what I am doing well – he's never critical, he keeps it all positive which is great.

"He can always give some good tips about my game and I know he enjoys watching myself and Sam play.

"He has a real passion for tennis and it's great to have someone with his experience in your corner.

"But to be honest I think my granny is more competitive than he is – she really gets into it!"

Bothwell, seeded three, went 3-1 up in the opening set after breaking Chaudhry's serve in the fourth game and a further break took him to 5-1.

But just when it seemed the Hillsborough lad was going to bludgeon his way to the opening set, the 17-year-old's level dropped and credit to Chaudhry as he took advantage, breaking before closing the gap to 5-3.

Bothwell, though, didn't wobble and came up with a very solid service game to seal the set.

But Bothwell then played his worst game of the match to allow Chaudhry to break and go 2-0 ahead after a series of unforced errors.

It seemed the momentum was changing but Chaudhry's success was short-lived as Bothwell immediately broke back.

Back on serve, a marathon fifth game was taken by Bothwell with a superb drop shot followed by a rasping forehand winner.

Now a break up, Bothwell didn't look back and reeled off four games to seal his place in the quarter-finals.

Bothwell added: "I didn't think I was at my best today. I wasn't feeling the ball on the strings the way I would like so I just couldn't produce my best but I got the job done. There was a bit on an edge in the match and I think that was what kept me fired up and got me through.

"I felt that I started sluggishly but there were parts of the match that I did some good things and near the end of the second set I felt quite good.

"But now I just have to focus on my quarter-final match with Luke Oakley. The last time we played a while back he caned me one and one but I have improved a lot since then.

"Sam managed to beat him in three sets last week in the Donnybrook ITF event so I can talk to Sam about his game and what I can expect.

"Hopefully I will bring my best game to the quarter-final – I will have to raise my level for sure. It's great playing at home and it does give all the Ulster players a boost because we are so used to travelling all the time.

"It's great that the event has come to Windsor this year and hopefully they can bring it back here."

Meanwhile, number four seed Sam Rice of Great Britain was given a scare on his way to the quarter-finals by Dublin-based Serbian Vuk Budic, the 15-year-old serving up some fine shot-making.

Trailing by a set he produced a delightful drop shot to take the second but then seemed to tire as Rice pulled away to win 7-6 (4) 4-6 6-1.

In the women's draw, Irish girl Lauren Deegan produced one of the results of the day when she came out on top against number seven seed Federica Gardella of Italy 6-3 6-2, while Poland's Klaudia Wira also caused an upset when she defeated the number four seed Savannah Mills of Great Britain, 6-3 1-6 7-6 (3).

Belfast Telegraph


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