The CBN Open has reached its business end in Abuja. In the women’s field, semifinal action will take centre stage, while players in the men’s field will battle it out in the quarterfinals all on Friday.
Wildcard, Oyinlomo Quadre meets the unseeded Blessing Anuna for a place in the final, while Christie Agugbom faces Aanu Aiyegbusi. Thomas Otu and Shehu Lawal clash in a battle of former champions in the men’s field, with defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel, 6-time winner, Abdulmumin Babalola and Joseph Imeh also in action.
Quadre, ranked 158th on the ITF World Junior Rankings, has produced resounding performances to reach the semifinals, accounting for Serena Teluwo, Osariemen Airhunwhunde and Blessing Samuel, all in quick straight sets in the process.
Anuna, meanwhile, didn’t have any trouble beating Amara Nwokolo in straight sets in the opening round, but had to dig deep to beat Rose Abu 7-5, 7-5 in the second and then, lost a set against Bukola Olowu in a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 win in the quarterfinals on Thursday. No doubt, her run here has been impressive. But she may face her toughest test yet against Quadre.
Can Anuna produce something special to halt Quadre’s run? Or will the 16-year-old power into the final?
In the other women’s semifinal, 2-time champion, Christie Agugbom will face 2010 runner-up, Aanu Aiyegbusi. Agugbom is aiming to reach her second consecutive final at the event and go one better than she did last year, where she finished as runner-up. The 37-year-old has ticked through her section of the draw in superb fashion, beating youngsters, Oiza Yakubu, Favour Moses and Omolayo Bamidele without the loss of a set.
Aiyegbusi, also, hasn’t dropped a set so far and her performances this week have been remarkable. Can she now go on to equal her run in 2010? Or will Agugbom stay on track for a third crown?
In the men’s field, Thomas Otu and Shehu Lawal go head-to-head to serve what promises to be a spectacle. Otu is seeking his first CBN Open title since his sole triumph four years ago, while 3-time champion, Lawal is hoping to end his 11-year wait for another CBN Open crown. Otu dropped a set in a hard-fought win over Michael Chima in the second round, but played better against Albert Bikom in the third round on Thursday. Lawal, meanwhile, is yet to surrender one.
Top seed and defending champion, Sylvester Emmanuel will look to keep his title-defense hopes alive when he squares off against 9th seed, Nonso Madueke for a place in the semifinals. Both players are yet to drop a set in this tournament and this should make for some gripping contest.
2nd Joseph Imeh continues his pursuit for a maiden CBN Open title when he plays 5th seed, Emmanuel Sunday, while 3rd seed, Abdulmumin Babalola will aim to remain on course for a record-equalling 7th title, when he locks horn with talented youngster, Godgift Timibra.
In the wheelchair men’s singles, top seed Alex Adewale, who has won every singles title since wheelchair tennis debuted at the CBN Open in 2013, will take on either Williams Ukari or Seun Abel in the semifinals on Friday. Ukari and Abel will contest the quarterfinals early on the same day.
In the women’s field, double defending champion, Kafayat Omisore takes on Tosin Dawodu for a place in the final.
Matches are live from the National Tennis Centre in Abuja.