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Cluskey takes first Futures doubles title

James Cluskey and American Michael Venus won the men's doubles at the ITF Men's Futures event in Eilat Israel.

It was a first title at this level for Cluskey who is working hard on improving his world ranking and had already played two other Futures tournaments in Israel.

The title was hard-earned with their first round match against Russian pair Mikhail Fufygin and Vitali Reshetnikov going to a marathon 16-14 champions tie-break.

Next came a comfortable win over local Gilad ben Zvi and Saar Steele, before a critical semi-final against second seeds Mao-Xin Gong and Zhe Li.

Cluskey and Venus only narrowly won the opening set 7-5 and with renewed confidence booked their place in the final when they won the second 6-3.

In the final against Belarus pair Alexander Bury and Pavel Katliarov, the first set went to a tie-break won 3/7 by the Belarusians.

Cluskey and Venus clawed their way back into the match by winning the second set 6-3 and so it was into their second marathon champions tie break.

This went to 15-13 before Cluckey and Venus could go off and collect their winners' cheque.

After making the quarter-finals of the Kazan Challenger, Conor Niland lost in the first round of the French Futures in Bressuire to Latvian Andis Juska. James McGee went out to Antony Dupuis of France, and also lost in the first round of the doubles while playing with Macedonia's Daniel Danilovic.

With the David Cup qualifier weeks away, McGee, along with Barry King and Colin O'Brien then travelled to Sarajevo for the Bosnalijek Cup, where King lost in the opening round of the qualifiers.

Sam Barry lost to the eventual winner in the quarter-finals of the Monastir ITF Junior Tournament in Tunisia.

Facing Jiri Vesely of Czech Republic, Barry had a tough time of it, losing 6-1, 6-2. In earlier rounds, he had beaten Ameur ben Hassen of Tunisia in straight sets and come back from a set down to beat Dutch Alban Meuffels. It was a second quarter-final in Tunisia for Barry in recent weeks.

With Hungarian Mate Zsiga, Barry was top seed for the doubles, but the pair went out in the opening round to locals Moez Chargui and Slim Hamza.

Amy Bowtell went out in the first round of the girls' singles to Russian Aminat Kushkhova.


18-21 February: Westwood Clontarf National Spring U-16 and U-18 Championships, Westwood, Clontarf, Dublin.