With the first round in the books at the National Tennis Centre, Abuja, Joseph Imeh and Blessing Samuel continue their pursuit for a maiden CBN Open title in the men’s and women’s field, respectively, on Wednesday.
Former champions, Abdulmumin Babalola & Christie Agugbom, as well as defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel are also on the day’s menu.
After overcoming a tricky test in his opening match against Emmanuel Ikakah, 2nd seed, Joseph Imeh returns to action on Wednesday for his second round clash with Henry John. Imeh is on the back of two consecutive national title-triumphs, but did not have it all rosy in his first round match here on Monday. The 2017 finalist had to dig deep to stage a come-from-behind victory against Ikakah, winning 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Meanwhile, John didn’t have to break a sweat, as he conceded just a game in a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Jibrin Hassan. However, he’s sure to face a very stern test from Imeh, who’s on an 11-match winning streak in national tourneys and also a title favourite.
In the women’s field, top seed Blessing Samuel will look to keep her hopes of a maiden title here alive, when she takes on 2001 champion, Omotayo Osewa for a place in the quarterfinals. Samuel fought off a gutsy challenge from youngster, Omolade Aderemi in the first round on Tuesday and will certainly want to keep it going.
Osewa, meanwhile, gave a statement performance in the first round, winning 6-1, 6-0 against Folashade Ogunshola. It’s the 38-year-old’s fourth match here in Abuja, having come through three rounds of qualifying and she looks to be in very fine form. Can Samuel bring the veteran’s run to an end and stay on track for a fourth consecutive national title?
Back in the men’s field, defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel and Tochukwu Ezeh will go head-to-head with a place in the third round on the line. Both men registered very impressive first round wins and will want to build on that. But Emmanuel looks to be the favourite, having reached the final in three of the last four national tournaments (won two). Will it be another routine victory for him? Or will Ezeh cause a major upset?
Abdulmumin Babalola will seek to stay on track for a historic 7th CBN Open title when he meets wildcard Emmanuel Jebutu in the second round. Babalola reached the final of this event in the past two editions and is gunning for yet another this year.
2-time champion, Christie Agugbom didn’t drop a game against qualifier, Oiza Yakubu in the first round and surely will want to keep it that way when she takes on another junior player, Favour Moses in the second round. Agugbom finished as a runner-up here last year and fancies her chances of going a step better this time.
In another notable match, wildcard, Oyinlomo Quadre faces 8th seed, Osariemen Airhunwhunde for a place in the quarter-finals of the women’s singles event. Both players were outstanding in their respective first round victories and it will be interesting to see who marches on.