Nugent wastes little time
The changing of the guard at the head of Irish women's tennis came sharply into focus at Londonbridge Road on Saturday when five times champion, Gina Niland was unceremoniously relieved of her East of Ireland senior open title by a rejuvenated Karen Nugent.
Nugent's game was far too powerful and accurate for Niland who can hardly ever have been forced into errors in a match that lasted under the hour. Nugent, a 6-1 6-2 winner, selected her shots with an astuteness that had to be admired and she forced the issue from the start, frequently getting in behind pounding serves to impress in the forecourt.
She afforded Niland no chance of dictating the pattern and after the first two games went with serve, the pressure mounted for Niland who lost the next five games and the set, having been broken to 15 in both the fourth and sixth games.
Nugent was not prepared to ease up and dropped only a single point while securing breaks again in the fourth and sixth games of the second set. Nugent's confidence in going for her shots made the result a foregone conclusion long before the end.
Owen Casey won his third successive title when easily beating Stephen Nugent, a cousin of Karen. Casey has been adding to his growing list of firsts on the domestic scene since retiring last year from the international circuit. On this occasion he lost only one game from the penultimate stage. His 34 minute 6-0 6-0 dismissal of England's Sean Harrop in the semi-final was followed up by a 50 minute disposal of Nugent.