Sylvester Emmanuel put up a brilliant display to beat Thomas Otu 6-4, 6-1 and advance to his second consecutive CBN Open final, where he will face Abdulmumin Babalola for the second year running.
In their second match of the day, having played in the quarter-finals earlier, Sylvester and Otu went toe-to-toe in the opening set and kept things with serve. In the ninth game, however, the defending champion carved out the decisive break of the set for a 5-4 lead and held thereafter to take the set.
The second set was a one-sided show, as Emmanuel broke twice to claim victory and dash Otu’s hopes of a second CBN Open title.
The 21-year-old will now take on Abdulmumin Babalola, who outlasted Joseph Imeh 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the other semifinal. Imeh had taken the first set rather comfortably, but Babalola bounced back and claimed a crucial break in the 11th game of the second set for 6-5, before going on to take the set and force a decider.
The 34-year-old broke for a 3-2 lead in the final set, and Imeh responded in the 8th game for 4-4. Babalola returned the favour immediately for 5-4 and held serve thereafter to claim victory after 2 hours and 40 minutes of absorbing tennis.
Babalola will now seek to go one better than last year and clinch a record-equalling 7th title.
In the doubles final today, Abdulmumin Babalola and Shehu Lawal claimed their fourth consecutive CBN Open men’s doubles title, following a 6-3, 4-1 rtd win over the pair of Joseph Imeh and Christian Paul.
Babalola and Lawal were already cruising in the second set, before the pair of Imeh and Paul retired due to injury.