The ITF/CAT Circuit Junior L’Afrique De L’Quest—a Grade 4 hard-court tournament—began on Monday at the AAT & Stade Omnisports Eyadema in Lome, Togo, with six Nigerians in main draw singles action in both the girls’ and boys’ fields.

Four of the Nigerians got their campaign under way today and they did so impressively, with Marylove Edwards, Emmanuel Jebutu and Michael Osewa claiming straight-set victories.

Edwards, 14, defeated Manuella Nga of Cameroon 6-2, 7-6 to advance to the second round, where she will take on India’s Gauri Bhagia, the tournament’s third seed. Edwards made a quarter-final showing at the GTFLifetime Athletic Open two weeks ago in Ghana, and will be looking to put together a stronger campaign in Togo this week.

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Marylove Edwards

Meanwhile, Peace Udo, the only other Nigerian in the girls singles category, came up short against Naa McKorley of Ghana in her opening round match- her first on the ITF Junior Circuit this year.

Elsewhere in the boys’ singles field, Emmanuel Jebutu outclassed Richard Okine for the second time in as many weeks, following a no-nonsense 6-4, 6-2 victory over the Ghanaian to reach round two. Jebutu had beaten the 15-year-old in straight sets in the second round of the first leg of this event last week.

Up next for the Nigerian is No. 3 seed, Kodjo Charles, who emerged champion in the first leg.

Michael Osewa was also in first round action, with the 17-year-old Nigerian producing a solid performance to beat Beninese, Prince Gandonou 6-1, 7-5 and move into the second round. Osewa will look to stay on track when he takes on Paul Ngouadjio of Cameroon for a place in the 3rd round on Tuesday.

The other Nigerians in the main draw, Abayomi Philips and Joshua Aji, both of whom received first round byes, will begin their quest for glory in the second round on Tuesday.

Abayomi Philips, who’s aiming to go one better this week, having finished as a runner-up in the first leg last week, opens his account against Seydina Andre of Senegal, while Joshua Aji squares off against Emmanuel Wettey of Ghana for a place in the third round.