With Davis Cup fast approaching, James McGee continued his recent good form by reaching the final of the $15k Futures on clay in Morocco.
His biggest scalp along the way was world number 283 Mikhail Vasilev, the Castleknock man making light work of the Russian second seed, 6-2 6-4 in the quarter-final.
Another victory against a Russian followed in the semi-final with McGee edging past Ivan Nedelko in a third set tiebreak – a marathon match that probably did him no favours for a final he lost to unseeded Moroccan Mehdi Zaidi.
He picks up 15 ranking points for his troubles and will be just outside the top 500 when they’re added next week.
Unfortunately for McGee, his request to lay a red clay court in Riverview was controversially rejected so he’ll have to make the transition to indoor hard pretty quickly. With a lot of wins under his belt recently that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Elsewhere, three Irish players made the trip to Manchester for the $10k Futures on grass.
Greystones pair Mark Bowtell and Alan Gleeson both lost in the first round of qualies while Sam Barry reached the second round of the main draw, beating Brit wildcard James Marsalek before falling to French eight seed Albano Olivetti.
Barry teamed up with Kiwi Marvin Barker in doubles and reached the semi-finals before bowing out to top seeds Chis Eaton and Josh Goodall.
James Cluskey was in Futures action in France, losing in the final round of qualies to American William Boe-Wiegaard, who is apparently the Australian Open amateur champion.
His personal website contains a wealth of other awesomely useless information. Did you know that “Willboe” likes cheese pizza, sushi, The Daily Show and Caddyshack?
Or that Stanley Matthews is one of his biggest influences? How about his desire to meet Bill Clinton and David Nalbandian?
Well you know it all now. Use wisely.
Now where was I?
Oh yeah…Cluskey. After his defeat to Willboe he made the main draw as a lucky loser, but wasn’t so lucky to draw former top 100 player Olivier Patience in the first round. He lost 4 and 0.
I might suggest that he was distracted by the young Alec Baldwin lookalike’s rugged good looks but I don’t want to start any rumours.
In doubles Cluskey teamed up with Indian Divij Sharan, losing in the quarter-final to Frenchies Maxime Teixeira and Sebastien Rocher 4 and 4.
Teixeira played against Roger Federer on Court Philippe Chatrier at Roland Garros recently but even if that’s his favourite tennis memory, I’m sure sharing a court with Cluskey ranks a close second.
Barry King was in action closer to home and took part in the Irish Close Championship in Donnybrook but with Davis Cup in mind, withdrew before his quarter-final match to rest a minor hip abductor problem.
The title was eventually won by fifth seed Mark “Clutch” Carpenter, the Naas man taking out Dublin-based Georgian Lazare Kukhalashvili in two tiebreak sets in the final. Congrats to him.