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Cian McDonnell wins Ulster Open tennis title after thriller with Ethan Hance

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Hafner's Ulster Open men's champion Cian McDonnell with runner-up Ethan Hance

Hafner's Ulster Open men's champion Cian McDonnell with runner-up Ethan Hance

Hafner's Ulster Open men's champion Cian McDonnell with runner-up Ethan Hance

Cian McDonnell landed his first Hafner’s Ulster Open tennis title at Belfast Boat Club after a thrilling encounter with Ethan Hance in the wind.

McDonnell, on a tennis scholarship in the USA with the Fighting Hawks of North Dakota, managed to find the crucial break of serve in the seventh game of the third set to edge home 6-2 4-6 6-4.

Both lads produced some fine shots despite the wind and 18-year-old Hance demonstrated his grit in the second set when reeling off five straight games to tie up the match. McDonnell, 20, remained calm and ground out victory, with his skills at the net to the fore.

McDonnell commented: “My mum and Dad have been so supportive to me over the years with taking me to tournaments and coaching, so I’m pleased to win this title for them.”

The ladies winner was 22-year-old Jessica Leeman, who is on a tennis scholarship in South Carolina. She defended her title which was last played for in 2019 against Ballynafeigh battler, Christine Duncan in a one-sided victory 6-0, 6-2.


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