By John O'Donovan

Colin O’Brien overcame Italy’s Luca Serena 6-3 5-7 6-3 as the FBD Irish Tennis Open started at Fitzwilliam LTC today.

O’Brien came from a break down to take the first set before Serena fought back well to win the second set.

The Italian player had an unusual style, mixing up his game very effectively, without having any serious weapons.

However, the Malahide man kept his focus in the third set as Serena’s game began to breakdown and the Irish Davis Cup player’s strong forehand in the final set was a key component in his victory

Four other Irish players were also in action today as Peter Bothwell, the number one Junior player in Ireland, was defeated by fifth seed Richard Gabb of Britain 6-3 6-4.

Bothwell, who was granted a wildcard into the tournament, showed plenty of promise but started slowly, losing his serve early on and was a little tentative allowing Gabb to take the first set comfortably.

The Belfast player improved greatly in the second set becoming more aggressive and had a break point to lead 5-3 in the second set. Gabb, showing his greater experience, battled back to take the set and the match.

Robert Dudley did not fare as well losing easily to Britain’s Alexander Jhun. Dudley lost the first set 6-0, making plenty of unforced errors while Jhun was very consistent.

The 18-year-old fared much better in the second set with just one service break proving the difference losing the set 6-4.

Julien Bradley lost 6-4 6-3 against Jathan Malik and while there was very little between both players, Malik just had that bit more power in his groundstrokes, while also playing the big points with more authority.

The final Irish player in action saw John Morrissey lose to second seed Daniel Cox 6-1 6-3.

Cox, who won the tournament in 2010, had too much consistency and power for Morrissey although the Donnybrook player will be disappointed with the score.

Cox was very impressive and looked like he could challenge strongly for the tournament again this year.

Two more Irish players begin their challenge tomorrow with both expected to win as fourth seed Sam Barry takes on Germany’s Florian Barth, while eighth seed Daniel Glancy faces Zach Itzstein.