Nigeria’s Oiza Yakubu celebrated her 14th birthday in style, beating Valentine Talaki to reach the semifinals of the 2nd leg of the African Junior Circuit Under-14 tournament in Lome, Togo on Wednesday.
It’s a sweet revenge for Oiza, who had, in the quarterfinals of the first leg, lost to Talaki in three sets. Yakubu will take on Ivory Coast’s Lili-Bell Minet for a place in the final.
Iye Onoja also booked a spot in the semifinals, soundly defeating Eliaza Hongofa 6-1, 6-2, and will next face Gloriana Nahum of Benin for a place in the final.
In the boys category, 2nd seed, Suleiman Ibrahim continued his impressive run for Team Nigeria, as he sealed a semifinal berth with a very comfortable 6-2, 6-2 victory over Ivory Coast’s Paterne Kaouadio.
Ibrahim finished as a runner-up in the first leg, and is now seeking to go one better this time around. Up next for him is Togo’s Isaac Padio.
Ganiyu Mubarak, meanwhile, failed to join the semifinal train as he was edged 6-4, 3-6, 10-5 by Yakubu-Lea Abubakari in the quarterfinals.
In the doubles event, which started in the second round, the duo of Suleiman Ibrahim and Gabriel Inyang couldn’t get past the first hurdle, as they were beaten 2-6, 7-6, 10-5 by Ghana’s Lameck Bagerbaseh and Raphael Ankrah.
Elsewhere, Ganiyu Mubarak and John Oche combined well in the second round to beat the Togolese pair of Xavier Gakpo and Morningstar Dussey 6-0, 6-3 and move into the quarterfinals, where they couldn’t do enough to get past the pair of Gillian Nahum and Yakubu-Lea Abubakari.
In the girls’ field, Iye Onoja and Mary Udoffa made it to the quarterfinals after thrashing Ivorian pair, Ketoura Tank and Marie-Ange Kouakou 6-1, 6-1. They however, went down to Valentine Talaki and Grace Tchamoussa in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Oiza Yakubu made a partnership with Ranya Diabete of Ivory Coast, and the duo, upon receiving a first round bye, moved straight to the quarterfinals. However, they couldn’t go beyond that as they lost to Rodia Noudogbessi and Gloriana Nahum of Benin.
Esther Oni, too, would partner with a non-Nigerian, joining forces with Ishane Dermane of Togo. The partnership, though, didn’t prove solid as they went out to Saidath Ponthy and Eliaza Honfoga, both from Benin, in the second round.
Action will continue on Thursday at the Stades Omnisports de Eyadema in Lome, Togo.