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Dubs double Duff luck for Belfast

For the first time since 1997, Dublin won both the Duff Cup and the Harp Cup at the 63rd annual Dublin Lawn Tennis Council v Belfast & District Leagues match held in Larne.

With a wealth of talent to chose from, selectors Mary Harte and Lynn Spillane picked a solid team of players from 16 different clubs.

The planning and co-ordination paid off when Dublin not only beat their Northern opponents, but did it in style.

In the Duff Cup the final scoreline of Dublin 9 Belfast 1 tells its own story. There were a few minor wobbles -- Cel Hennessy (Glenageary) and Enda Weldon (Stackallen) lost the opening set of their mixed doubles 5/7 to Alison Nesbitt (Bangor) and Glyn Allen (Larne) but then stormed to a three-set victory, only losing two further games.

Others who had to fight hard for their wins included Caroline Grace (Monkstown) and Nicola Kearns (Templeogue) in their ladies' doubles and Cel Hennessy (Glenageary) and Edel Maguire (Swords) whose doubles match went to a championship tie-break.

Almost as clear a victory came in the Harp Cup for doubles only, with Dublin winning six of their eight matches.

Abroad, at the Taca Diogo Napoles in Portugal, Amy Bowtell just failed to make the quarter-finals when she lost to Stanislava Stashchenko of the Ukraine, despite winning the middle set. Bowtell, the No2 seed, had beaten British player Morven McCulloch in the second round after dismissing Mariagiovanna Nantai from Italy in her opener.

On the men's senior tour, Irish No1 Conor Niland has moved up the world rankings to 154 after making the quarter-finals of the Beijing Challenger.

Louk Sorensen is showing a welcome return to form and made the quarter finals of the Brasilia Challenger. In the opening round he knocked out the No7 seed, Marcos Daniel of Brazil, in straight sets and then defeated Matwe Middlekoop of the Netherlands after losing the opening set. In the quarter-finals he lost to Brazilian player Rogerio Dutra Da Silva, 6-1 4-6 6-4.

After the qualification tournament last weekend, the opening rounds of the William Fry Irish Junior Open in Fitzwilliam began earlier this week. Play continues until Saturday with dozens of matches, both singles and doubles, every day.

Players are divided into four age groups -- under-12, 14, 16 and 18 -- for boys and girls.


7-14 August: Glasnevin Senior Championships, Glasnevin LTC, Dublin.

Limavady Senior Open, Limavady LTC Co Wicklow Open, Co Wicklow LTC, Bray. Donnybrook Junior Open, Donnybrook LTC, Dublin.

8-14 August: Munster Claycourt Championships, Co Tipperary LTC.

13-21 August: William Fry Junior Irish LT Championships, Fitzwilliam, Dublin.

14-21 August: East of Ireland Senior Championships, Lansdowne LTC, Dublin.