In the Cannon Kirk Homes Irish Open 2014 75% of the Irish contingent made it through to tomorrow’s quarterfinals. The day started brightly with Carlowman Arthur Gaskin making his way past Scot Douglas Kempsell in an epic 3:2 encounter. Arthur went 2:0 up playing to his strengths, but lost his length and his focus. The fifth was touch and go, but Arthur prevailed: “He also really hung in there and made things tough for me, but luckily I found my length again in the fifthh, and got a really good start as well.” Gaskin faces qualifier Mark Fuller next, after Fuller’s opponent and top seed Tom Richards pulled out injured midway through the first game. “Last year I got to the quarters too, so this year I am obviously hoping to do one better. Though Mark Fuller is a great player, a real seasoned professional who will give anyone a tough game.” Arthur’s match is on at 3pm tomorrow, and will be streamed live on aertv.ie.
Irish number one and two, Madeline Perry and Aisling Blake, also overcame their opposition with slightly less trouble than Gaskin. Perry beat qualifier Falcione of Argentina in straight games, conceding only 11 points while doing. Perry faces talented American Olivia Blatchford, who beat the umber seven seed Camilleri 3:0. Aisling Blake, Ireland’s number two, also recorded a 3:0 game, but had her work cut out against Australian Sarah Cardwell.
“Yep, that was a tough 3:0, that puts it pretty well. Sarah used to train in Amsterdam so I know her from there (Aisling is based in Amsterdam), and she has improved a lot since. She has great coverage and is very quick, so you need to find the corners against her.” Blake faces Tesni Evans, the Welsh player who is just behind Aisling in the world ranking and the event’s number five seed. “We played each other in Orange County last year and I lost in five, but tomorrow is a new day. Also, we are playing on the center court tomorrow in front of a home crowd, so I am looking forward to the match!” Madeline’s match will be on at approximately 6pm, while Aisling is on at 8pm – both live on aertv.ie.
Lastly, yesterday’s hero Bryan Byrne lost to number three seed Ryan Cuskelly, who was too strong for Ireland’s number two. Byrne was close to winning the fourth, but ultimately the Australian, a world top 50 player, was too strong. Bryan had a great run though and will be supporting his Irish compatriots throughout the rest of the tournament. Dan Z.