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Sam Bothwell is the last Ulster tennis boy standing

By John Flack

Sam Bothwell is the last remaining Ulster player in the singles events at the Irish Junior Open Championship at Fitzwilliam after booking his place in the semi-finals of the U-18 competition yesterday.

The Hillsborough teenager defeated Irish-based American Vuk Budic 7-6, 6-3 to set up a meeting with the top seed Osgar O'Hoisin today.

O'Hoisin qualified by comfortably beating the only other local survivor, Windsor's Matthew McClurg, 6-2, 6-2.

"I have never lost to Osgar before but I haven't played him for two years and he has come on a lot since we met several times at U12 level and above." said Bothwell.

"He has played a lot of ITF tournaments this year and he will obviously be a very tough opponent."

O'Hoisin was runner up at the recent City of Belfast ITF junior ranking tournament at Windsor to underline his credentials.

In yesterday's match with Budic who, at four, was seeded one place higher than the Ulster teenager, Bothwell broke to go 5-4 up in the first set but then was immediately broken back.

The next two games went with serve and Bothwell was a comfortable winner in the tie break which followed.

He lost his serve in the first game of the second set but responded superbly to go 5-3 up with the aid of two breaks and then served out to take the match.

However, it was a tale of disappointment for the two remaining Ulster girls as Lucy Octave lost 6-0, 6-1 to Lauren Deegan in the U-18 quarter finals while Jessica Leeman bowed out 6-7, 7-5, 7-5 to Eimear O'Neill at U-14 level.

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