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Brave McGee comes up short in epic struggle in New Caledonia

Battling James McGee agonisingly missed out on a place in the final of the ATP Challenger Tour event in New Caledonia in the Pacific after coming up short in a marathon three-setter.

On the back of three wins in this week’s outdoor hardcourt tournament in Noumea, the Irish ace took the first set in his clash yesterday against Canada’s Steven Diez, whom he teamed up with in the doubles competition, reaching the quarter-finals.

But unfortunately for No 242-ranked McGee, his No 233-ranked opponent stormed back, eventually clinching a place in the decider with a 6-7 (2/7) 7-5 6-4 victory after two hours and 59 minutes.

Despite the bitter disappointment of the defeat, in 30C heat, the 26-year-old Castleknock man will take considerable heart from his run to the semi-finals ahead of next week’s qualifying round of the Australian Open, the first major of the year.