The Dayak Tennis Championships is the second of three ITF World Tour events in Abuja. With the tournament serving off in the third week of this month, we take a look at the past champions and how they have fared since winning the $25,000 tournament.

Antal Van Der Duim

images 2019 03 26T052159.109

Antal Van Der Duim won the 1st leg of the Dayak Tennis Championships in 2016, beating Serbia’s Llija Vucic in straight sets in the final. Before then, he had won the Tombim Abuja Open in the very first week in April that year.

Following his successful outing in Abuja, Van Der Duim made a string of semifinal finishes on the ITF World Tour in France, his home nation, Holland, and Italy. In October same year, he reached a career-high ATP ranking of 214.

He would make a run to the final at Velgu-Foncenex in France in January, 2018, before a semifinal showing in Greece in February. The following month, he played his last tournament til date at an ITF event in Villers Les Nancy, France, where he lost in the first round.

David Perez Sanz

IMG 5061

Perez Sanz of Spain defeated Egypt’s Mohamed Safwat to win the 2nd leg of the Dayak Championships in May, 2016. He backed that up immediately with a title-winning run at the ITF event in Sozopol, Bulgaria and another run to the final the following week in Ruse, where he lost to Germain Gogounon of Belgium.

The Spaniard then took to the Challenger Tour, where he found little success. However, his next title came on the ITF Tour in August, 2017, in Sinitra, Portugal. 10 months later, he won another, at the Colombo event in Sri Lanka.

In October of 2018, Sanz embarked on an absolutely brilliant run in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt, winning 5 of 6 ITF World Tour titles from October through to November, and notching 28 wins in 29 matches in the process.

Following the publication of the 1st Official ITF World Tennis Rankings in January this year, Perez Sanz was ranked No.1, owing to the 6 titles he won on the ITF Tour in 2018 and his incredible run through October and November. Though, the 24-year-old is currently ranked 2nd on the ITF rankings log and 517th on the ATP standings.

Pedja Krstin
IMG 20190402 WA00072

Pedja Krstin all smiles as he receives his trophy from Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed (M) and the country’s Sports Ministry’s Director of Planning, Hauwa Adeyemi (L), on Centre Court of the National Tennis Centre, Abuja, in 2017. Photo: Ewaoche Ameh.

Serbia’s Krstin won the Dayak Tennis Championships in May, 2017, beating Calvin Hemery of France in the final. Hemery, however, got his revenge over the Serbian a week later in the semifinals of the GSL Open.

Krstin, following his impressive outing in Abuja, shuttled between the Challenger Tour and the ITF Tour, where he has particularly enjoyed the greater success. Five months after his triumph at the Dayak Championships, he returned to Nigeria to compete at the Lagos Open, and swept clean the event, winning both legs for his 13th and 14th ITF Tour title.

FB IMG 15542101718684

Pedja Krstin after his Lagos Open triumph in 2017 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.

Having won his only Challenger title at San Louis Potosi, Mexico, in 2016, Krstin would come close to securing a second at the Almaty Challenger in Kazakhstan in June, 2018, but fell short in the final, losing to Justin Rodinov of Austria. This year, the 24-year-old played in the qualifying rounds of the Australian Open in January, losing out in the second round. He’s currently ranked 194th in the world.

Maximilian Neuchrist
Screenshot 20190402 1406092

Maximilian Neuchrist and his coach, Michiel Schapers strike a pose with the trophy after his triumph at the National Tennis Centre, Abuja, last year. Photo: Ewaoche Ameh.

Austria’s Neuchrist registered a 6-3, 6-7(5), 6-2 victory over João Menezes of Brazil to lift the Dayak Tennis Championships title in April, 2018. He, however, fell to Menezes in the quarterfinals of the GSL Open the week after.

Following his campaign in Abuja, Neuchrist moved up the rungs of the professional ladder to compete on the Challenger Tour, with his best result being a semifinal finish at the Loughborough Challenger in Great Britain, a run he made just after the Abuja events.

The Austrian, who hasn’t played competitively since September last year, will now return to Abuja to compete on the ITF Tour, which begins next week. And with a ranking of 336, the Austrian will be the highest-ranked ATP player in the main draw of the Tombim Abuja Open, which kicks off next week.

The Dayak Tennis Championships is live from the National Tennis Centre, Abuja, from 15 – 21 April.