Tennis coach Paul Watt family ties will be set aside when their young stars go head-to-head
Local tennis coach Paul Watt and his son Alex will be in opposing corners today at Windsor when two of their proteges, Matthew O'Boyle and Peter Corrie, clash head-on in the quarter-finals of the ITF junior world ranking tournament.
Both came through tough matches in the last 16 yesterday, O'Boyle defeating British player Bradley Stoneham 7-6, 6-4 while Corrie overcame Lurgan's Caleb Ralston 7-5, 7-6.
And the luck of the draw means that the tournament, which has attracted 170 players from all over Europe and further afield to Belfast, will have a local boy involved when the semi-finals take place.
"It will be a shame that one of the boys will go out but they'll still be friends afterwards and so too will be the boys' coaches whatever the outcome." said Matthew's coach Paul
O'Boyle says he has been determined to demonstrate the progress he has made in the last 12 months after making his exit at the second round stage last year. The Bangor teenager said: "I had my chances to go further then and didn't take them but I think I have learned a lot since then and I believe I am a better player now."
"I beat Peter quite comfortably in our most recent meeting but that match was on a hard court so the result won't have any bearing on the quarter-final on the astroturf.
"He's a very mobile player and he tends to be able to get most shots back into the court so it's going to be tough."
Corrie had to come back from 5-2 down in the second set against Ralston yesterday after earlier dumping out the second seed.
Thge Hilden player said: "I felt more pressure playing against Caleb because I am slightly older than him and I wasn't expected to win the other match but Matthew has had the edge against me recently so I've nothing to lose this time."
Unfortunately Corrie has had to opt out his Ulster junior open title defence as he doesn't want to risk aggravating a groin injury je sustained earlier in the week.
He added: "It's disappointing obviously but I don't want to jeopardise the rest of the season by playing too much and doing further damage with another ITF next week."
The Ulster junior open continues today.
Selected results, (Ulster names first) boys singles: second round: Ben McClurg lost to Andrew Rozanov (GBR) 6-4, 6-1; Matthew O'Boyle bt Bradley Stoneham 7-6, 6-4; Peter Corrie bt Caleb Ralston 7-5, 7-6.
Girls singles, second round: Laura Reid lost to Anna Bowtell 6-3, 6-2.