Tuesday 23 January 2018

McGee sent packing as Goodall serve proves crucial

Paddy Hickey

JAMES McGEE admitted that the superior serving of Josh Goodall was the crucial factor in his defeat by the top seed in yesterday's semi-finals of the FBD Irish Men's Open at Fitzwilliam.

McGee was chasing a second Irish title on the trot, but two breaks of serve, compared to one from the home player, in the first set and then a lone break in the second helped British ace Goodall triumph 6-4 6-4 after an hour and 25 minutes.

"The only difference between us was that he served better than me for the entire match," said the 25-year-old Dubliner, who surprised the top seed, France's Charles-Antoine Brezac in last year's final.

"My baseline play, my fitness and my mentality were all fine, but he must have had a first serve percentage of about 80pc,whereas I was well below that mark with mine.

"As a result, he was very comfortable most of the time on his serve, but I was under pressure too much for my liking."

It was a measure of things to come when No 3 seed McGee dropped his serve in the opening game of the contest to provide Goodall -- fourth in the British rankings behind Andy Murray, James Ward and Jamie Baker -- with an early boost.

"I came out a bit cold and hit a double fault," said the 349-ranked Castleknock man, who lost to 226-ranked Goodall for the fourth time on the trot, the earlier three defeats all coming in 2010.

"He hit a few good returns and got lucky with a net chord and suddenly the first game was over."

After the early setback, McGee was broken again in the seventh game to go 2-5 down, only to break back in the next game and hold for 4-5.

But Goodall wrapped up the opener by holding after deuce in the 10th game.

The second set went with serve all the way to the eighth game, but then Goodall broke to 30 and held to love in the next game to close out the match in style.

In the second semi-final, Australia's No 4 seed Michael Look sprang a surprise when he defeated the No 2 seed, big-hitting Frenchman Albano Olivetti, 6-3 6-4.

RESULTS IN FACTFILE

Irish Independent

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