Thursday 22 August 2019

Carr grinds out win to progress

Tennis

Simon Carr. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Simon Carr. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Paddy Hickey

The scoreline from their only previous encounter at world-ranking level boded for a relatively one-sided contest between the top two Irish men's players.

Back in August 2016, Simon Carr clinched a place in the main draw of the claycourt ITF Futures event in Georgia at the expense of Peter Bothwell on an emphatic 6-3 6-2 scoreline.

But on this occasion no such similarity existed compared to the nature of their earlier confrontation as the pair clashed yesterday in the quarter-finals of the AIG Irish Men's Open at the Carrickmines Club.

And the last-eight battle was truly a scrap that went right down to the wire, as defending champion and Ireland No 1 Bothwell courageously saved four match points before succumbing to his Davis Cup team-mate and Ireland No 2 Carr on a 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 6-3 margin.

Looking back at a riveting and roller-coaster contest, which stretched to three hours and 11 minutes, the 24-year-old Co Down man will rue the fact that he served no fewer than 11 double faults, compared to just one from his 19-year-old Mullingar opponent.

However, it's a telling indication of No 3 seed Bothwell's intense determination to make further inroads in his title retention bid that, as well as saving four match points in the final game, he created one break of his own in the same game before No 7 seed Carr battled back to level at deuce and ultimately win the match.

At today's last-four stage, Carr faces a massive task against the top seed, Dutch ace Igor Sijsling, a player who has twice beaten 2016 Wimbledon singles finalist Milos Raonic, who yesterday eliminated Britain's Millen Hurrion 7-6 (7/1) 6-3.

In the ladies' event, Anna Bowtell and Georgia Drummy kept home interest alive with quarter-final wins over the No 3 seed Germany's Lisa Ponomar, and Sophia Biolay, on respective 6-2 6-1 and 6-4 7-5 margins.

Delgany native Bowtell fired in eight aces in the course of her match, which took only 61 minutes to complete.

Irish Independent

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