Peter Bothwell comes up short in Dublin

Peter Bothwell

Peter Bothwell

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Peter Bothwell made a valiant effort to lift the Irish Close title for the first time on Saturday night in Dublin but failed narrowly as he fell to a three sets defeat against the top seed.

The Hillsborough teenager, who is based at the Soto Academy in Spain went down 6-7, 6-2, 7-5 in a three-hour battle with Georgian Lazare Kukhalashvili, who qualfied for the tournament under the residency rule.

A very tight first set contained no service breaks and so went into a tie break in which Bothwell went 3-0 ahead before closing things out with a great forehand return.

The Georgian broke the Ulster man’s serve in the first game of the second set and dominated until Bothwell recovered his composure.

But Kukhalashvili went on to force a third as he took the second set on a 6-2 score line.

Games went with serve to 2-2 with Bothwell rediscovering the form he had shown in the opening set.

He was then broken in the longest game of the match but immediately broke back to 15.

Both men were playing long rallies at this stage, most of which Bothwell dictated with some excellent ground strokes.

But Kukhalashvili, who is renowned for his defence, broke at 5-5 and served out to take the match and the title.

Bothwell, who was ranked third for the tournament, was far from disgraced against title favourite after a busy day at the office..

The 18 year-old had played a Leinster Premier League fixture on Saturday morning and then had to dash across the city to Donnybrook to play the singles final.

Meanwhile there was also disappointment in the Irish capital for one of the province’s younger starlets, Mary Parkash.

Mary had lifted the Carrickmines Junior Open title a week earlier but there was to be no repeat in the Leinster Junior Open Under 14 final.

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