Blockbuster showdown in the women’s singles event at the CBN Open on Thursday, as top seed Blessing Samuel takes on the in-form Oyinlomo Quadre in the quarterfinals.
In the men’s field, it also promises to be an exciting day, as Joseph Imeh and defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel shoot for a place in the quarter-finals.
Blessing Samuel, the country’s No.1 player, and teen sensation, Oyinlomo Quadre will square off in what promises to be a gripping quarter-final encounter. Samuel, who’s won the last three national tournaments, is bidding for a maiden CBN Open title and has played well so far in Abuja, beating Omolade Aderemi and Omotayo Osewa, both in straight sets. Quadre, also, has been ruthless here. She defeated qualifier, Serena Teluwo with the loss of just four games in the first round, and didn’t drop any game in a 6-0, 6-0 win over eight seed, Osariemen Airhunwhunde on Wednesday. Surely, the 16-year-old comes into this encounter against the top seed full of momentum and brimming with confidence.
Last time these two met was in the women’s singles semifinal at the National Sports Festival in Abuja last year December, a match Quadre comfortably won 6-0, 6-1. Now, will the wildcard simply replicate that performance and edge closer towards glory? Or will Samuel get her revenge and stay right on track for a fourth consecutive national title?
Also, 37-year-old Christie Agugbom will take on Omolayo Bamidele with a semifinal spot on the line. It’s the third teenager Agugbom will face in as many days, as she continues her quest for a third CBN Open title. Both players have played impressively so far. Bamidele won the Zenith Bank Next Gen Junior Masters girls title earlier this month, and has carried that form into the senior circuit here.
She defeated Christy Mbadiwe in the opening round and spent over 3 hours on court before overcoming former champion, Ronke Akingbade in the second round on Wednesday. Can the youngster go a step higher today? Or will Agugbom prove to be a step too far for her?
In the men’s field, 2017 finalist, Joseph Imeh will seek to remain on course for a third straight national title and his first CBN Open crown when he takes on 13th seed, Christian Paul in the third round on Thursday. Both men were teammates at the Davis Cup in Kenya last year and come into this match with a lot of experience and also in fine form. Who will go through?
Defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel hasn’t had much troubles advancing to the third round in Abuja and hopes it remains that way when he takes on Oche Adehi for a place in the quarterfinals.