Main draw action was billed to start on Tuesday, but due to intermittent rain, all matches were suspended. First round action will, however, now begin on Wednesday, with quite a number of Nigerians headlining.
Sylvester Emmanuel, who made the main draw via the qualifiers and Joseph Imeh are among those who will attempt to make it past the first round in the men’s field, while Oyinlomo Quadre and Blessing Samuel spearhead the home challenge in the women’s field.
Top seeds, Skander Mansouri of Tunisia and Ukraine’s Valeriya Strakhova are also on the day’s menu.
In the men’s field, Sylvester Emmanuel takes on 5th seed Calvin Hemery of France. Hemery, a 3-time ITF Tour winner, has played in the Challenger Tour for most of the season, which has been a quiet one for him. Emmanuel, meanwhile, will be looking to put together another solid campaign, having reached the quarter-finals here in 2016.
Joseph Imeh, Nigeria’s No. 2 player, battles his countryman Mohammed Mohammed for a place in the second round. Mohammed was beaten in the final qualifying round on Tuesday, but made it to the main draw as a lucky loser. Both men have met once on the ITF Tour- at the Tombim Open in Abuja in 2015- a match Imeh won in three sets. Will he get one over his compatriot again? Or will Mohammed exact revenge?
On Centre Court, top seed, Skander Mansouri will begin his bid for a 5th title this year against 7-time ITF Tour winner, Gianni Mina. Mansouri, who’s ranked 306 in the world, has had a very good year on the ITF Tour and comes into Lagos in some good form, having made a run to the quarter-finals at the M25 Tavira event in Portugal last week. Can the Tunisian build on that momentum or will Mina cause an upset here?
In the women’s field, wildcard, Oyinlomo Quadre takes on her countrywoman, Patience Onebamhoin in the opening round. Onebamhoin, 31, will be making her 4th appearance in the main draw of this event after working her way past the qualifiers, and will seek to make the second round here for the first time. Meanwhile, 16-year-old Quadre, the highest-ranked Nigerian junior player in the world, has had a good season on the ITF Junior Circuit with two title-triumphs. Can she translate that success onto the ITF World Tour?
On Court 7, Nigeria’s No. 1, Blessing Samuel and Aanu Aiyegbusi will go head-to-head for a place in the second round. Both women made it through two rounds of qualifying and will be looking to keep up the momentum. Samuel, though, has gone past the first round here on three different occasions. It’ll be a first-time meeting between both women on the ITF World Tennis Tour. Who will prevail?
In the first match on Centre Court, the tournament’s top seed, Valeriya Strakhova, who’s ranked 231 in the world, will square off against South African qualifier, Isabella Kruger, as she begins her quest for a 13th title on the ITF Tour.
Nigerians will also be in doubles action on the day in the women’s field.
The duo of Oyinlomo Quadre and Adesuwa Osabuohein, who won Bronze for Nigeria in the women’s doubles at the Africa Games in August, will look to get off to a bright start here when they face the Egyptian-Indian pair of Sandra Samir and Prarthana Thombare.
Ronke Akingbade and Blessing Anuna face Patience Onebamhoin and Oiza Yakubu, while Amara Nwokolo and Peace Udoh square off against the Russian-Swede pair of Nika Kukharchuk and Fanny Ostlund. Sarah Adegoke is in partnership with DRC’s Allyson Onya, and will lock horns with the Tunisian-German pair of Chiraz Bechiri and Jasmin Jebawy.