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Victory over Turkish would set up dream draw for Irish

WHILE Irish David Cup players Louk Sorensen and Conor Niland's made successful openings in the Australian Open qualification campaign yesterday, juniors John Morrissey and Sam Barry have to wait until the week of January 25 to find out who they will play in the junior boys' competition.

Closer to home, Oisín McCormack and Stephen Martin were both knocked out in the opening round of the boys' singles at the Wilson ITF Junior Classic in Bergheim, Austria.

McCormack lost 7-5 6-3 to Austrian Felix Wohlgenannt, while left-hander Martin started strongly against Davide Poggi of Italy but went on to lose in three sets. Martin reached the semi-finals of the boys' U18 singles at the National Indoors a few weeks ago.

Tickets for Ireland's Davis Cup Group II draw against Turkey at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club from March 5-7 go on sale from February 1. If Ireland can beat the Turks, they are in line for a dream draw against the Andy Murray-led British in July.

Top player for the newly promoted Turkish team is 22-year-old Marsel Ilhan, currently ranked 152 in the world. That puts him over a hundred places ahead of both Louk Sorensen and Conor Niland, although both these players have beaten him in the past.

At the end of the year, Niland remains the top ranked Irish player at 286, marginally down on his 277 of a year earlier. Sorensen is second at 293, two up on 2008, despite his many injury problems.

James McGee has moved up to 487 from 627 and is also ranked 506 for doubles. Colin O'Brien is the best-ranked Irish doubles player at 362, with a singles ranking of 621, up from 721 last year.

Barry King, ranked 1097 in 2007, ends a productive year at 631 for singles and 508 for doubles. Also in the top 1,000 are Tristan Farron-Mahon at 928 and Daniel Glancy at 980.