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Peter Corrie enjoys dream debut in Ulster showpiece

BY John Flack

Ballynahinch teenager Peter Corrie had a terrific win on his debut at the Keys Finance Ulster Senior Championship at the Boat Club last night.

The 14-year-old Hilden player defeated a vastly more experienced Hungarian player, Laszlo Olah, 6-3 7-6 to advance to the first round proper of the men's singles event.

Corrie's reward will be a clash with Donaghadee's Stephen McCausland, the eighth seed, later in the week.

The Ulster under-14 inter-provincial player was delighted at his opening victory at the showpiece which continues all week with the finals scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

"I have been having problems with a long-term knee injury. I haven't been able to play at my best so it was nice to get the win," he said.

"I hadn't even heard of my opponent before, let alone played him, so I didn't really know what to expect from him.

"He was difficult to play against and it took me some time to get into the match but I was just glad to win it and I can now look forward to playing Stephen McCausland.

"I have never played him before but my coach (Alex Watt) has been telling me about him and I am sure he will have me well prepared for the match."

In theory Corrie could meet his mentor as the tournament progresses as the Hilden coach is the second seed but his pupil thinks that is unlikely.

"I can't see it happening, to be honest. I am just glad to have made it to the first round and from what I have been told Stephen will be a very difficult opponent," he added.

Olah was also competing in his first tournament after arriving in the province from Hungary via England four years ago to work in the catering business.

He was ranked seventh in his home country when an under-18 but he said his lack of match practice and the unfamiliar courts allied to Corrie's ability proved to be his downfall.

"I would love to join a club here in Northern Ireland but I can't afford the membership fees as they tend to be quite expensive," said the 33-year-old who is married to a local woman.

"I haven't played on artificial grass courts before and I found it a very difficult surface to cope with, especially during the first set.

"I played better after I got used to the surface more in the second set but, to be fair, Peter played a very good game and deserved to win."

Corrie started brightly and had three breaks of serve to one in the opening set, which he took 6-3 as both players found difficulty in establishing any rhythm.

The second went with serve although the Hungarian had a break point at 6-5 which he squandered, allowing the youngster to capitalise in the subsequent tie break.

The closest qualifier of the night saw another junior, Ben McClurg, overcome Calum Hagan 7-6 6-7 7-5 to earn a place in the final eliminator for the main draw.

Sixty-year-old Boat Club veteran Jimmy Wilson progressed to the last 16 after Ballynafeigh's John Mongan was forced to retire with a knee injury when losing 7-5 3-1.

Wilson will now meet last year's runner up Aaron Stubbs, while Matthew McGann, of Enniskillen, will face Watt in the first round proper after beating Daniel Fleming-Cairo 6-4 6-4.

Results: Men's Championship qualifying: Peter Corrie bt Laszlo Olah 6-3, 7-6; Matthew McGann bt Daniel Fleming-Cairo 6-4, 6-4; Ross McCarey bt Thomas Nallapalli 6-0, 6-1; Ben McClurg bt Calum Hagan 7-6, 6-7, 7-5; Jimmy Wilson bt John Mongan 7-5, 6-3 ret. Michael Blease bt Chris Neil-Smith 6-1, 6-3; men's B singles: L. McMahon bt R. Pathka 6-0, 6-0; J. Hudson bt B. Thomas 6-0, 6-1; P. McCrum bt J. Copeland 6-2, 6-2; D. Burns bt D. Szajstec 6-1, 6-1. S. McDowell bt M. McBride 6-3, 6-1.

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