Mike Happell defeated Kieran Booth last night, by a score of 5/6, 6/5, 6/3, 6/2.

In the end Mike won well, and for the final portion of the match all his many qualities of precision and control, not to mentioned his unrivalled understanding of the RMTC court, were on display.

Yet it was nearly a very different story. Kieran recovered from 3/5 down in the first set to win it 6/5, stepping up a level with some very aggressive play from the service end. In the second set, Kieran again recovered from 1/5 down to lead 40-15 in the 5 all game, poised to take a two set to love lead. He was attacking chase better than two, and played an awkward cross-court floor shot. Mike, however, resolute under pressure, judged precisely where it would fall and at the last instant withheld his stroke, as the ball narrowly lost the chase; he then went on to win the next three points to level the match.

Having escaped that particularly tight spot, Mike’s confidence and shot-making improved markedly and he thereafter played beautifully to set up yet another encounter with his perennial rival, Julian Snow, on Sunday.