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Watt must step it up in final rematch

By John Flack

Alex Watt staged a stunning comeback to beat Aaron Stubbs in the semi-final of the Keys Finance Ulster Senior Open men's singles at the Boat Club.

That victory has set up a repeat of last year's decider, in which he lost to Przemek Stec.

Stec took less than an hour to overcome his Windsor club mate Ben Fetherston 6-3, 6-2 and will enter the decider as favourite.

Watt had to recover from 5-1 down in the first set before defeating Stubbs 7-6, 6-3.

The 20-year-old Donaghadee player was serving for the set at 40-15, but Watt fought back to give himself a lifeline.

He then went on to win four of the next five games to force a tie-break, which he won 8-6.

Watt impressively reeled off three games in-a-row at 3-3 to take the second set and win the match.

Watt knows that he will have to up his game to stand a chance in the decider.

"If I play like that, then I have no chance of beating Przemek so I will have to step up a few levels." said Watt.

"Aaron had two tough matches earlier in the week so he didn't want to be hanging around in the first set with long rallies and he had me in trouble as I wasn't playing well.

"I think when I clawed my way back in the first set and then won the tie-break it knocked the heart out of him."

Stec is hoping for less windy conditions today as he attempts to repeat last year's victory against Watt.

"I am looking forward to playing Alex again, but I hope it is less windy because, although both Ben and I tried to play tennis out there, it was very difficult in the conditions."

In today's ladies singles final, top seed and title-holder Lucy Octave will meet Windsor's Annie McCullough, who is ranked second, after both girls had straight sets semi-final wins last night.

Octave defeated Annie's twin sister Caitlin 6-4, 6-2 while McCullough had a 7-6, 6-2 success against the unseeded Helen Harvey (David Lloyd), who had led 3-0 in the first set.

Meanwhile Peter Bothwell lost in the quarter-finals of the $10,000 tournament in Portugal yesterday, going down 6-3, 6-0 to third seeded French player Sebastien Boltz.

Later he teamed up with his younger brother Sam in the doubles semi-final but the Hillsborough pair were beaten 6-1, 6-1 by a Portuguese duo.

RESULTS: Ulster Senior Open semi-finals: men's championship singles: Przemek stec bt Ben Fetherston 6-3, 6-2; Alex Watt bt Aaron Stubbs 7-6, 6-3; ladies championship singles: Lucy Octave bt Caitlin McCullough 6-4, 6-2; Annie McCullough bt Helen Harvey 7-6, 6-2.

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