Now working as a coach at Dublin’s Clontarf-Westwood facility, Fitzgerald dropped only a total of three games in the first two rounds to enhance his chances of coming away with the top prize tomorrow.
The Surrey native looked on course for a place in the semi-finals when he took the first set thanks to one break of serve but Greystones lad Fitzgerald, a tennis scholarship student at Indiana’s Notre Dame, didn’t drop a game in the second set and subsequently overwhelmed his opponent in the champions’ tie-break to emerge with a 4-6 6-0 10-0 victory after an hour and 28 minutes.
Ironically, 20-year-old Fitzgerald now faces a semi-final joust against his 18-year-old brother Ciarán, who demolished Donnybrook’s Mike Johnston 6-1 6-1 after an hour and 11 minutes.
The other men’s semi-final will be contested by last year’s runner-up Lazare Kukhalashvili, a Dublin-based Georgian native, and No 2 seed John Morrissey. Kukhalashvili accounted for Carlow’s Tommy Murphy 6-1 6-2 after an hour and 15 minutes, and Morrissey, ranked No 30 in the ITF U-18 world rankings this year, overcame fellow Donnybrook club member David O’Hare 6-3 6-2 after an hour and 44 minutes.
In the women’s singles quarter-finals, top seed Rachael Dillon maintained her drive for her second Indoors title on the trot, executing a 6-0 6-0 demolition job on Megan McGreevy from the Newcastle, Co Down club after an hour and five minutes.
However, Fed Cup Dillon was upstaged by No 2 seed Sinead Lohan for the distinction of the shortest women’s match of the night, with the Tramore 15-year-old needing only 52 minutes to see off the challenge of Donnybrook’s Alexandra Drummy 6-0 6-1.
In today’s semi-finals, Dillon, a tennis scholarship student in Tennessee, faces Fed Cup teammate Jenny Claffey, a 6-0 6-1 winner over Mount Pleasant’s Susan McRann, with Lohan taking on Naas’s Gráinne O’Neill, who edged Donnybrook’s Alison Clarke 6-2 7-5.