Nigeria’s No.1 Blessing Samuel could be set for a mouthwatering quarterfinal showdown with teen sensation, Oyinlomo Quadre, while 2nd seed and 2-time champion, Christie Agugbom could meet 2013 champion, Ronke Akingbade in another quarterfinal clash at the 2019 CBN Open in Abuja.
Main draw action in the women’s singles category gets under way on Monday. And with double defending champion, Sarah Adegoke taking no part in this year’s event, we are assured of a new champion.
Blessing Samuel, a runner-up in 2011, begins her quest for a maiden CBN Open title against CBN Junior Open girls Under-16 champion, Omolade Aderemi in the first round. Samuel, 27, is aiming for a fourth consecutive national title, having won the Vemp Open, Rainoil Open and Dala Hard Court titles last year. Aderemi, who was the Most Outstanding Player at the CBN Junior Open could prove to be a tricky opening round test for Samuel. The top seed is however expected to come through that and could face either Folashade Ogunshola or 2001 champion, Omotayo Osewa, who came in via the qualifying rounds, in the second round.
Should Samuel get through, then we will have a potential quarter-final clash with Oyinlomo Quadre. After her remarkable outing at the National Sports Festival in December last year, where she won three Gold medals in the singles, doubles and mixed doubles events, and also some very good run on the ITF Junior Circuit in North Africa this year, Quadre comes into the CBN Open full of confidence and ready to compete for the title. That’s not some good news for the opposition. Should Samuel and Quadre meet in the quarterfinals, it will be a rematch of their semi-final encounter at the National Sports Festival, which Quadre won 6-0, 6-1.
However, Quadre would have to get past the dynamic Serena Teluwo in the first round and Ramota Odeyemi or Osariemen Airhunwhunde in the second round.
In the bottom half of the draw, second seed and last year’s finalist, Christie Agugbom opens against youngster, Oiza Yakubu- a rematch of their second round meeting at the 2018 Rainoil Open, which Agugbom won in convincing straight sets. Agugbom could go on to face former champion, Ronke Akingbade in the quarterfinals in a clash of former champions, but before then, she has to defeat either Blessing Omotayo or this year’s SNEPCo Under-16 girls runner-up, Favour Moses in the second round.
In Akingbade’s quarter is Christy Mbadiwe who’s returning from maternity leave and was given a wildcard. Mbadiwe takes on SNEPCo Under-16 girls champion, Omolayo Bamidele in the opening round. Winner of that encounter faces Akingbade in the second round.
Qualifiers, Toyosi Adeusi and Jumai Mohammed will square off in what promises to be an entertaining first round contest. Both girls had faced each other earlier this month at the Zenith Bank Masters, with Mohammed prevailing to advance to the semifinals. Elsewhere, wildcard, Iye Onoja will lock horns with Bukola Olowu.
The 2019 CBN Open is live from the National Tennis Centre, Abuja from 24 – 29 June.