Friday 19 January 2018

Tennis: Sorensen aims to lead Ireland bid for Turkish delight

Paddy Hickey

Louk Sorensen will get Ireland's bid for Davis Cup glory against Turkey under way in front of a full house at Fitzwilliam today (4.0).

The Irish No 1's name will face Turkey No 2 Haluk Akkoyun in the opening singles match in the Europe-Africa Zone Group Two first round tie.

Ireland No 2 Conor Niland will then face up to Turkey No 1 Marsel Ilhan.

Turkey team boss Alaaddin Karagoz has nominated Ilhan and Akkoyun for tomorrow's doubles, while the Irish plan is for Sorensen and Niland to have a rest day, with Barry King and James McGee getting a chance.

Sorensen will have a huge rankings advantage over Akkoyun -- 226 compared to 1,197. But 28-year-old Akkoyun is an experienced Davis Cup campaigner, having made his debut in sports' biggest annual team competition, in terms of competing countries, as far back as 1998.

In the second singles, Niland will be at a rankings advantage against Ilhan, with respective figures of 241 and 121. But the Limerick man will be boosted by the fact that he beat the Uzbekistan-born right-hander last September in an ITF Futures event in Istanbul.


The winners of the Dublin contest will likely face a second round tie against Great Britain, who are fancied to overcome Lithuania in Vilnius.

Meanwhile, Sam Barry yesterday gained some consolation for his shock first-round singles defeat in the ITF U18 Circuit Grade 2 event in Esch/Alzette,Luxembourg.

After No 2 seed Barry's 6-3 6-7 (5/7) 3-6 loss to France's unseeded Gregoire Barrere on Wednesday, the Limerick player came up trumps in his corresponding doubles contest in the indoor hardcourt tournament.

Barry and Tunisia's Slim Hamza, the top seeds, disposed of the gutsy British duo Daniel Cochrane and James Hignett on a 6-7 (1/7) 6-4 10-3 (champions' tie-break) scoreline.

Today, Barry and Hamza take on Italian duo Andrea Dall'asta and Giammarco Micolani with a place in the semi-finals at stake.

In the corresponding Grade 5 tournament in Casablanca, Morocco, Bray lad Stephen Martin's lack of experience on clay contributed to his downfall as he exited in the first round.

Martin failed to win a game in the opening set of his contest against Moroccan Youssef Tamimount. But Martin made a much better fist of things in the second set, with Tamimount restricted to one break of serve before prevailing 6-0 6-4.

Details in factfile

Irish Independent

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