Top seed, Sylvester Emmanuel, produced an impressive performance to beat Uche Oparaoji and reach his second straight final at the Dala Hard Court Championship today.

The 21-year-old’s 6-4, 6-2 victory brings him within one match-win of a 3rd Dala Hard Court title.

Oparaoji had the advantage in the first set, as he broke in the 5th game for 3-2, but Emmanuel returned the favour in the 8th game to draw level for 4-4. He would take the next two games, breaking again in the 10th game to close out the set.

In the second set, Oparaoji’s level tailed off, as Emmanuel took an early 3-0 lead before getting his second break in the 8th game for the win.

Emmanuel will now take on defending champion, Joseph Imeh, in a repeat of last year’s final.

Imeh was in imperious form in his semis, as he outclassed Musa Mohammed 6-1, 6-1 to advance. Mohammed avoided a bagel in the first set by holding serve in the 6th game and then, avoided another in the second set by holding in the 3rd game at 3-1. But that would be all from the youngster, as Imeh simply proved too much for the remainder of the contest.

In the women’s field, Aanu Aiyegbusi recovered from a slow start to beat 5-time champion, Blessing Samuel, 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 and advance to the final.

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Aanu Aiyegbusi (L) and Blessing Samuel greet at the net after their match.

Samuel, bidding for a record-equalling sixth title, had stormed through the first set, but Aiyegbusi hit back in the second, jumping to a 5-1 lead before breaking the top seed in the 7th game to take the set and force a decider. An early break in the third set put Aiyegbusi in control of the contest. Another break in the 8th game sent the 25-year-old into the final.

For the title, Aiyegbusi will take on Oyinlomo Quadre, who handed Patience Onebamhoin a double bagel. Quadre, who’s now into the final without losing a set, will play for her second straight national title on Saturday.

In the doubles event, Joseph Imeh, who, last year, teamed up with Christian Paul to win the title, partnered brilliantly with Albert Bikom this time; both men beating Sylvester Emmanuel and Clifford Enosoregbe 6-3, 3-6, 10-7 in the final today to claim the doubles title.

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Joseph Imeh and Albert Bikom celebrate their doubles victory.