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TENNIS: Keothavong ends Collin hopes of record run; NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS.

Defending women's champion Hannah Collin was sent crashing out of the Hastings Direct National Tennis Championships at Bolton Arena by No 3 seed Anne Keothavong.

Collin, seeking a recordbreaking third crown in four years, lost 6-4, 6-4 to her in-form opponent from Surrey and will play No 1 seed Julie Pullin, the winner of this tournament in 1996 and 1998, who beat Wigan's Jane O'Donoghue 6-2, 6-2.

Collin's exit followed the departure of reigning men's champion Lee Childs, who went out to powerful left-hander Martin Lee.

Two new champions will thus be crowned at a tournament which has attracted large crowds throughout the week.

Keothavong, who won the Futures tournament in Sunderland, has had impressive tournament wins over Alice Mackenzie (Yorks), Rebecca Llewellyn (South Wales) and Jo Ward (Middlesex).

The talented 19-year-old, a member of the Great Britain Federation Cup team, has also yet to drop a set in the event.

'It wasn't my best match,' she said. 'But I'm happy that I'm through it and playing in my first nationals final. I knew I had to go for it against Hannah. I made more errors than in my last few matches but I kept going for it and I was not as patient. I think I was trying to go for it too much.'

Keothavong said help from experienced coach Tony Pickard in the last seven weeks had been a big help in her charge for honours.

'He has helped my confidence and he believes in my game,' she said. 'I'm enjoying my tennis more than ever. I was thinking of giving up and was ready to walk away from tennis and go to college in America.'

Alex Bogdanovic, the Belgrade-born 18-year-old, will be hoping to go one step better at this year's championships after smartly coming through his tough semi-final with top seed Martin Lee.

Bogdanovic, a beaten finalist at Bolton last year, triumphed 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 against his Sussex opponent.

Bogdanovic, who aims to improve his ranking without the help of a coach, will play Jamie Delgado in the showpiece final today.

Delgado, aged 25, came from behind and beat Bolton-based Jonny Marray - ranked 886 - 3-6, 6-4, 7-5. He said: 'I've been plagued by an injury for the last few years. It tightens up at the top and I was feeling it and thinking about it more than the match so I had to concentrate more on the match. But he played very well, I knew it would be tough.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 26, 2002
Words:414
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