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Ulster hopefuls fail to receive any luck of the draw


Champion: Lucy Octave won the Co Tyrone championship

Champion: Lucy Octave won the Co Tyrone championship

Champion: Lucy Octave won the Co Tyrone championship

Most of the remaining Ulster players have been handed tough draws in the ITF junior world ranking tournament, which continues with the first round boys and girls singles at Windsor today.

Three of the five direct entrants into the girls draw will be up against seeded players while Sam Bothwell, the province's best chance of success in the boys event, also has a difficult task ahead of him.

The Hillsborough teenager will face British player Ewan Moore, who is in form at the moment, although he has a lower world ranking.

Moore was a winner in both singles and doubles at the ITF tournament in Donnybrook so, once again, Bothwell hasn't had the best of luck after being pitted against the top seed last week.

"It's going to be an extremely tough match for me but you always have to play whoever is put in front of you so I am looking forward to the challenge," said Bothwell.

Windsor player Matthew McClurg, who received a wild card entry into the draw, will also have his work cut out.

He has been drawn to face another British player in the shape of Robert Leck.

In the girls singles, Lucy Octave's chances of building on her Co Tyrone Championship success at the weekend have been hampered by a tough test against third seeded Austrian player Lisa Friess.

The Donaghadee teenager, who beat Donna McSorley 6-3 6-0 in the final in Omagh yesterday, is hoping to secure her first ranking points in singles, having reached the semi-finals of the doubles at Windsor a year ago.

But she will start as a massive underdog against an opponent who is ranked 720 in the world at U-18 level.

The luck of the draw certainly didn't apply to the McCullough twins, Caitlin and Annie, both of whom are also up against seeds.

Caitlin will face last year's runner up Lauren Deegan, who is ranked fifth while Annie is down to play Ellie-Rose Griffiths, the fourth seed.

Laura Reid, on the basis of a higher ranking, has in theory a less daunting task as she is up against Georgia Drummy but the Dublin girl is seen as the rising star of the sport on the Emerald Isle.

Emily Beatty is another of the Ulster players to be drawn against a lower ranked opponent and she will play Lithuanian Marija Povilionyte.

In the weekend qualifiers, none of the Ulster players progressed beyond the second round and Sarah Cousins became the last of the casualties yesterday when she lost 6-4 6-1 to England's Summer Yardley.

Meanwhile, Jessica Leeman and Ben McClurg won the U-18 titles at the Belfast Hardcourt Championship on Saturday with straight sets wins over Matthew O'Boyle and Susanne McKinstry respectively.

City of Belfast Hardcourt Junior Championship finals:

Boys: U-12; Dylan Leeman bt Freddy Murray 6-4, 6-4; U-14; Caleb Ralston bt Kyran Maguire 6-4, 6-0; U-16: Peter Corrie bt Ben McClurg 6-4, 4-6, 6-4;u18: Ben McClurg bt Matthew O'Boyle 7-6, 6-4.

Girls: U-12: Rachel McCrum bt Ciara Hill 6-1, 6-1; U-14: Rachel McCrum bt Parveen Hariri 7-5, 6-2; U-16: Arianna Kennedy bt Megan Chambers 7-5, 6-7, 6-3; U-18: Jessica Leeman bt Suzanne McKinstry 6-0, 6-1.

Belfast Telegraph