Defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel got his title-defense campaign off to a brilliant start, while second seed, Joseph Imeh dug deep to advance to the second round of the CBN Open in Abuja on Monday.

First round action got under way at the National Tennis Centre in Abuja and a couple of dominating results were registered in some quarters.

Top seed, Sylvester Emmanuel began his quest for back-to-back CBN Open titles with a convincing 6-0, 6-3 victory over Isiaka Toriola, and will fancy his chances of staying on course when he next takes on Olatunji Abraham or Tochukwu Ezeh, both of whom will be in first round action on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, 2017 finalist Joseph Imeh rallied from an opening set loss to beat Emmanuel Ikakah 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 and progress to the second round. Imeh, who battled with Ikakah’s big serves, bounced back in the second set to force a third, where he came back from 0-2 down to win 6 of the next 7 games and power to victory. Up next for the 21-year-old is Henry John, who wasted no time in dismissing Jibrin Hassan 6-1, 6-0.

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Joseph Imeh came from behind to reach the 2nd round.

17-year-old Musa Mohammed was also in the zone on the opening day, as he dismantled Idris Aliyu 6-1, 6-0. The young gun, who recently claimed the Zenith Bank Next Gen Masters boys title in Lagos, awaits the winner of the Joseph Iyorovbe and Linus Paul contest in the second round.

Elsewhere on the grounds, 2015 champion, Thomas Otu had no problems progressing to the next round, as he thrashed Amos Michael 6-3, 6-0 in a one-sided contest. Otu, who had earlier underlined his desire to reclaim the CBN Open title, will look to keep his title hopes alive when he takes on either Michael Chima or Stephen Augustine for a place in the third round.

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Thomas Otu

Fourth seed Uche Oparaoji beat wildcard Matthew Abamu 7-5, 6-3. Oparaoji, who finished as a semifinalist last year, carved out a decisive break in the 12th game of the opening set to take it, and went on to break Abamu twice in the second set for the straight-sets win.

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Uche Oparaoji in action.

Christian Paul also joined the second round train with a 6-3, 6-2 win over John Otu, while 7th seed, Emmanuel Idoko defeated Peter Lawal 6-3, 7-5. Oche Adehi bounced back from a first set loss to stun Musa Bala 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, while lucky loser, Kayode Olawolu, who came in after Paul Emmanuel failed to show up, was rock solid against Richard Ogbu in a 6-4, 6-4 win. Anthony Leo defeated wildcard, David Dawariye 6-2, 6-4, while Godgift Timibra knocked out Chinedu Ikwuagu 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

Eight seed, Ikechukwu Iloputa defeated wildcard, Suleiman Ibrahim 7-6(3), 6-3 to also advance. Iloputa and Ibrahim had traded one break each in the opening set, before guiding the set into a tie-breaker, which the former won. Iloputa would produce a stronger performance in the second to power to victory.

Meanwhile, the match between Joseph Iyorovbe vs. Linus Paul and Kareem Badmus vs. Charles Nwandu were suspended with the scores at 1 set all. Play resumes on Tuesday.

First round action continues at the National Tennis Centre, Abuja on Tuesday, 25 June.