The Ulster winter tennis season started with the Junior open at the David Lloyd centre in Belfast.
Juniors participating in this event are competing for points which will go towards next year’s rankings.
Despite the long trip, Enniskillen tennis club had an incredible 15 of their juniors playing this tournament. The under 10s event saw the next generation of local players competing at a very high level with outstanding performances from them all. Kaelan Deery played in the under 9s. He came second in his round robin group, only losing to the boy who went on to win the event.
He had a very close semi-final against the rival ace narrowly losing 10-9. Kaelan went on to play another match which he won well so he finished up in 3rd place.
Rory Smyth and Aoibheann King competed in the under 10s.
Aoibheann played well against a group of boys just missing out on a spot in the semi-finals. Rory made it to the semi-final and in a closely fought match just lost out on getting to the final.
Ciara Griffin made it to the semi-finals of the under 14s and Sarah Cousins and Ronan McKeever made it to the semi-finals of the under 18s. Sarah just lost out to the eventual winner in a very close three set match.
Enniskillen’s Eimear Smyth was seeded number one. She came into the draw at the semi-final stage where she played qualifier Jessica Moore from Belfast who was in a good run of form having dropped only three games in her matches prior to the semi-final.
Jessica started strongly taking the first set 6-3, but once Eimear started to get to grips with the indoor playing surface she took the second set 6-3 before winning the match after taking the deciding set 6-1.
In the final the Enniskillen teenager played number two seed Mary Parkash.
A mammoth first game saw both girls play a series of long rallies before Eimear saw off a number of break points to hold serve and take the game.
This gave Eimear an edge as she took a 4-0 lead before her opponent, from Ballymena, broke Eimear’s serve and then went on to force her way back into the set at 4-3 with Parkash’s passing shots in particular proving to be very effective.
Eimear took a tense 8th game in the set breaking Parkash’s serve with a key point being won as Eimear took the initiative at the net with a couple of trademark volleys. Eimear held her own serve to take the first set 6-3
The second set went with serve but at 4-4 in what proved to be the crucial game in the match, she broke Parkash’s serve with some accurate backhand returns which put her 5-4 up. Eimear held her nerve to close the match out taking the second set 6-4.
Eimear’s progress over the previous season has been remarkable and with valuable ranking points earned this week Eimear is in a strong position for the coming months.
Head coach Matthew McGann is delighted with the amount of juniors that competed at this event.
“Seeing so many competing is a tribute to the tennis club that works so hard to support its juniors and the work that the under 10 coach Louise McGann puts into the next generation of players,” said McGann.
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