Defending champion, Maximilian Neuchrist, kept alive his title-defense hopes with an impressive three-sets victory over France’s Jaimee Floyd Angele, who was the runner-up in last week’s Tombim Open.
Neuchrist, the top seed, claimed a 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win in just under 2 hours to advance to the quarterfinals in only his second tournament since returning from a 7-month injury lay-off.
Neuchrist had retired in the first round of the Tombim Open last week, failing to quell doubts about his fitness level. He has, however, now dismissed questions about that with his performance on court over two days to reach the last eight in Abuja.
The 27-year-old will square off against Ukraine’s Danylo Kalenichenko for a place in the semifinals. Kalenichenko, in an earlier encounter, defeated Britain’s Jack Draper 6-4, 7-5 in 97 minutes. It’s sweet revenge for the Ukrainian, who lost in the semis of the Lagos Open last year to the young Brit who went on to win the tournament.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Joseph Imeh fell in the second round, losing 6-2, 6-1 to Brazil’s Pedro Sorgi, who’s ranked 570 in the world. Imeh will now turn his attention to the GSL Open, which will kickoff immediately after the Dayak Championships.
Sorgi will take on France’s Tom Jomby in the quarterfinals. Jomby, who’s ranked 399th on the ATP standings and seeded fourth in Abuja, produced a solid performance to beat Kunal Anand of India, 6-3, 6-4. Tomby won the 1st leg of the Lagos Open in October last year, and will be hoping for a similar run here in Abuja this week.
Elsewhere, France’s Dan Added joined the quarter-final train for the second time in as many weeks, following a 6-4, 4-1 (rtd) victory over Niels Lootsma. Lootsma, who’s ranked 591 in the world, had sacked 2nd seed and last week’s Tombim Open winner, Sadio Doumbia, in straight sets on Wednesday, but was unable to make a complete challenge today, as he retired midway through the second set while trailing Added.
Up next for Added is Burundi’s No.1, Guy Orly Iradukunda, who defeated Fabien Reboul 6-2, 7-6(3). Having eased to a first set win in 27 minutes, Iradukunda was faced with a stiff challenge from Reboul in the second set. The Frenchman opened up a 3-1 lead quickly, but the Burundian fought back, carving up an important break in the tenth game to draw level at 5-5, before both men guided the set into a tiebreaker. Iradukunda would hold firm to prevent a third set and clinch victory in 80 minutes.
Sixth seed, Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe, was beaten in straight sets by unseeded American, Peter Kobelt. Kobelt, who’s now into his third straight quarterfinals this season, secured a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory on Centre Court, and will next face Brazil’s Gilbert Soares Junior. Soares Junior registered a comfortable 6-4, 6-2 victory over Czech qualifier, Dominik Palan.
In the doubles event, the Lock Brothers—Benjamin and John—beat the American-Swede pair of William Bushamuka and Simon Yitbarek 6-3, 6-4 to reach the semifinals, where they will take on the duo of Dan Added and Michail Pervolarakis, who defeated the Ukrainian-Dutch tandem of Danylo Kalenichenko and Niels Lootsma 6-4, 7-6.
Elsewhere, French pair, Sadio Doumbia and Fabien Reboul, who won the Tombim Open last week, advanced to the semifinals, following a straightforward 6-2, 6-3 victory over Dan Hiddleson and Markus Schultz. Doumbia and Fabien will play Tom Jomby and Peter Kobelt, who beat Arjun Kadhe and Sundar Prashanth 6-7, 6-4, 10-3, in the semifinals on Friday.