First round action at the Vemp Open continues on Tuesday in Abuja, with defending champions, Sylvester Emmanuel and Blessing Samuel, as well as Joseph Imeh and teenage sensation, Oyinlomo Quadre, headlining the day’s schedule.
Sylvester Emmanuel, looking to defend his title this week, opens play on Court 1 against Chima Michael. It will be the second meeting between both men in the space of a week, with Emmanuel having claimed a 6-0, 2-0 (rtd) win over Michael in the semifinals of the Rainoil Open, which he went on to win, last week.
Michael’s chances in that match were hampered by a muscle strain. Now in good shape, can he exact revenge? Or will Emmanuel, who’s presently on a 6-match winning streak, extend his winning run?
Joseph Imeh, a finalist here last year, comes into this event on the back of runner-up finish at the Rainoil Open. The 22-year-old, raring to go again this week in Abuja, opens against Joseph Iyorovbe, who went out in the first round last year. Iyorovbe will be looking to do better this time around, but faces a tough test in Imeh, who’s in fine form and has made the final in each of the last two tournaments he’s played in.
In the women’s field, Oyinlomo Quadre, ranked No. 1, will begin her quest for a 4th consecutive national title, when she takes to court against lucky loser, Fola Ogunshola.
Quadre has swept clean all national tournaments so far this year, winning the CBN Open, Dala Hard Court Championship, and last week’s Rainoil Open without dropping a set. Given her outstanding form all year, no one will consider betting against her this week.
The women’s singles defending champion, Blessing Samuel, kick-starts her title-defense bid against qualifier, Omotayo Osewa. Osewa, a first rounder last year, will be aiming to put up a better showing in this year’s edition, however, Samuel, who’s fresh off a semifinal-run at the Rainoil Open, may present a strong challenge.
In other match-ups, Emmanuel Sunday and Emmnauel Idoko – both of whom were teammates, representing Nigeria at the Davis Cup in Nairobi, Kenya, in September – will go head-to-head for a second round place. Nigeria’s No. 2, Aanu Aiyegbusi takes on Blessing Danjuma, while Christie Agugbom and Rose Abu will face off. Isaac Attah confronts Uche Oparaoji, a quarter-finalist last year.
Matches are live from 9:00am at the National Tennis Centre, Abuja.
Tuesday’s Order of Play