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True grit Macmahon in two semis

By David Kelly

Ardghal Macmahon ground out two hard-won victories to seal his place in the under-16 and under-18 semi-finals at the Ulster hardcourt championships at Windsor Tennis club.

Rostrevor lad Macmahon started the day with a tough battle against Windsor lad Leon Gibson, winning the under-16 quarter-final 6-3 7-5.

Macmahon returned to the court in the afternoon for his under-18 clash with Boat Club's Calum Hagan which prove to be one of the most entertaining matches of the day.

It started with successive breaks before Macmahon held to go 2-1 ahead and gradually his smart play from the baseline gained him a stranglehold on the opening set.

The 16-year-old Abbey Grammar lad was accurately using the angles and broke to go 3-1 ahead before holding as he moved Hagan around the court, forcing him into errors off both wings.

Hagan threatened to come back when he enjoyed his first solid service game but Macmahon remained relentlessly consistent and went on to take the set 6-3.

Hagan held at the start of the second and was now finding some rhythm on his forehand, applying more pressure which led him to break in the fourth game and he didn't look back, taking the set 6-2.

Now there was very little between the two as they engaged in a war of attrition from the back of the court with Macmahon edging the deciding set 6-4.

Macmahon will now face number one seed Aaron Stubbs in the under-18 semis and Peter Corrie in the under-16 semis.

Corrie made the under-14 semi-finals with a 6-2 2-6 6-1 victory over Harry Ellesmere before causing an upset in the under-16s when he defeated Ulster junior open champion Matthew O'Boyle 6-3 6-2.

Matthew McClurg is through to the semi-finals of the under-18s and under-16s. McClurg, a finalist in the under-16s at the Irish junior championships, defeated Dylan Robinson 6-1 6-2 in the under-16s before proving too strong for younger brother Ben in the under-18s, winning 7-6 6-3.

Ross McMaster was an impressive winner in his under-14 quarter-final with Rory Cunningham, taking it 6-0 6-2.

Belfast Telegraph


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