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Przemek Stec will aim for fourth Ulster title

By David Kelly

Windsor's Przemek Stec and Karola Bejenaru will be aiming to make it double success for the Belfast club at the Keys Finance Ulster Senior Open next month.

Stec and Bejenaru will both be recovering from injury but will nevertheless be favourites to take the singles titles when the tournament starts on June 2 at Belfast Boat Club.

Stec didn't compete in last year's event, having previously won the title on three occasions. Now he is back and eagerly looking forward to the tournament which has gained good sponsorship from the Keys Finance Group.

Stec, who also coaches 16-year-old Bejenaru, expects a tough challenge particularly from some top Leinster players in the draw such as defending champion Julian Bradley.

Stec said: "I have been increasing my fitness level over the past few months, getting myself in the best shape I can for the Ulster Senior Open.

"I have had a bit of a wrist injury but that should be fine for the start of the singles.

"It's always a tournament that I enjoy and it would be great to win it for a fourth time – I don't think there have been many who have done that."

Stec protege Bejenaru has taken her under-18 ITF World ranking to 182 after spending the past two months in Europe but it proved to be a tough period for the Romanian-born east Belfast teenager.

Bejenaru suffered an infection in her finger which landed her in a Spanish hospital and on Monday had to have a small operation on another finger which became infected.

That means she must now rest for two weeks, having had her bid to make junior Wimbledon also dented earlier in the month by the infection.

Stec, though, has no doubt she will be ready for her bid to retain the Ulster senior crown.

"It's been a tough time for Karola and now she just has to rest the finger. But she will keep up her fitness and be ready for the Ulster Senior Open," said Stec.

Tournament Director Chris Sanlon said he was delighted with the backing of new sponsor Keys Finance.

"Thanks to sponsorship this year's prize money has been increased so I would encourage anyone who enjoys tennis at a competitive level to make sure they enter before closing date of May 28," said Sanlon.

Owen Graham, MD of Keys Finance Group, said: "Being local, independent and based in south Belfast ourselves we felt the mix of tennis as a great sport, the tournament being held at the Belfast Boat Club with all its history and pedigree was a good fit for us."

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