All of Thursday night’s matches went with seeding as the top four competitors in the men’s singles moved reasonably smoothly into Friday’s semi-finals of the Keys Finance Ulster Championship at the Boat Club.
Second seed Alex Watt was involved in the closest match of the evening as he defeated Windsor’s Matthew McClurg, the fifth seed, in two tight sets, 7-6, 6-4.
After a nerve shredding first set tie break, Watt moved into a 3-0 lead in the second and, while occasionally audibly unhappy with some of his shots, managed to hang on for the win.
The Hilden player will now meet Donaghadee man Aaron Stubbs, who is ranked third and reached the final last year.
Stubbs beat Hans Henrik Enoksen 6-1, 6-4 after surviving a tough second set against the Danish veteran, who works in Belfast.
Watt will be hoping for a repeat of his success over Stubbs in the same tournament two years ago.
The South African-born player, who now coaches at Hilden, lost to top seed Przemek Stec in the decider two years ago.
The Polish-born Windsor player will play Karl Donaldson, the fourth seed, as he bids to increase his men’s singles title tally to four at the Stranmillis venue.
On Thursday night Stec was given a quite tough match by Donaghadee player Stephen McCausland as he progressed to the last four on a 6-4, 6-3 score line.
“I think I can say that I came off the court with my head held high as it isn’t often that Przemek concedes seven games in a match against a local player.” said McCausland.
Donaldson will take some heart from that score line although he knows he will have a stiff test against the title holder this evening.
The ATT player, who is on the brink of helping the Ballymena club to the Belfast & District Mixed League title, defeated South African Tony Davison 6-4, 7-5 last night.
Davison had a chance to square the match when he led 5-3 in the second but Donaldson won the next four on the trot to close out the match.
“There is no pressure on me as I am not expected to win. I played Przemek a couple of years ago and lost in two sets so he will certainly be the favourite.” said Donaldson.
The ladies singles semi final line up was also decided on Thursday night as Lydia Kelly and Christine Duncan earned the right to play top seed Karola Bejenaru and second ranked Lucy Octave respectively.
Kelly defeated Fiona Ludlow 6-4, 6-1 while Duncan overcame Emma Dornan in three sets, 6-7, 7-6, 6-0.
Results: Men’s Championship singles quarter finals: Przemek Stec bt Stephen McCausland 6-4, 6-3; Karl Donaldson bt Tony Davison 6-4, 7-5; Aaron Stubbs bt Hans Henrik Enoksen 6-1, 6-4; Alex Watt bt Matthew McClurg 7-6, 6-4.
Men’s singles B: Tomas Kofron bt Paul McCrum 6-2, 3-6, 6-0; Steven McDowell bt David Frazer 4-6, 6-2, 6-1; Stephen Johnston bt Colin Watterson 6-4, 7-6; Lawrence McMahon bt Matthew McMullan 6-4, 6-2.
Ladies Championship singles qualifying; Christine Duncan bt Emma Dornan 6-7, 7-6, 6-0; Lydia Kelly bt Fiona Ludlow 6-4, 6-1.
Ladies singles B; Catherine Kelly bt Ailbhe Atkinson 6-2, 6-3.