Bothwell rules the roost on home soil while Britain’s Appleton takes women’s Irish Open crown
Co. Down’s Peter Bothwell and Bromley’s Emily Appleton won the men’s and women’s Irish Open Tennis Championships in Carrickmines.
Daire Walsh reports from Carrickmines Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club
DOWN NATIVE PETER Bothwell delivered a magnificent display at Carrickmines this evening to claim the AIG Irish Open Tennis Championship men’s singles title at the expense of Britain’s Ryan James Storrie.
The DCU Academy star had been left with a mountain climb when he conceded the opening set to Storrie, who defeated Germany’s Stefan Seifert at the semi-final stage on Saturday. However, Bothwell was determined to leave his mark on the day’s showpiece decider – and he ultimately got the better of Storrie in a gruelling three-set affair (5-7 6-3 6-3).
This win comes as a major milestone for the 22-year-old Hillsborough man, as it is the first singles crown of his professional career.
Speaking on court in the direct aftermath of a compelling encounter with Storrie, Bothwell identified the partisan home crowd as a major factor in his success.
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming out today. It gave me five, 10% extra. Especially in the third set. I felt a little bit fatigued and you got me through it,” a jubilant Bothwell explained.
While Bothwell – ranked seventh for the tournament – initially found it difficult to press home his advantage, he soon settled into a smooth rhythm of play.
Tied at three games each in the second set, he ruthlessly took control of the contest to set-up a grandstand finale in the sweltering Carrickmines heat. With both players holding serve under enormous pressure, this fascinating duel looked set to go down to the wire.
A determined Bothwell was not to denied, however, and he won three more games on the bounce to finally see off Storrie’s persistent challenge.
Emily Appleton was earlier crowned women’s singles champion with a straight sets victory (6-4 to 6-3) over fellow Briton Sasha Hill. After defeating Ireland’s Julie Byrne in Saturday’s semi-final, Appleton was firm favourite against Hill – who was competing in her first-ever professional tennis event.
The Bromley teenager initially held her own in testing conditions, before Appleton finally broke her serve to take the opening set 6-4. A prolonged showdown looked to be in store when Hill built up a 3-1 lead after the resumption of play, only for Appleton to subsequently rein in the challenge of her compatriot.
After winning four games in quick succession, Appleton produced a series of powerful serves to eventually take home the top prize.
Women’s singles final
Emily Appleton (GBR) beat Sasha Hill (GBR) 2-0 (6-4 6-3)
Men’s singles final
Peter Bothwell (IRL) beat Ryan James Storrie (GBR) 2-1 (5-7 6-3 6-3)