By Ebenezer Osamo/Abuja –
Three more Nigerian players at the ongoing Tombim Abuja ITF Futures have qualified for the Quarter-Final stage of the tournament.
Moses Michael and Thomas Otu had on Monday, defeated Joshua Chetty and David Forchap in straight sets of 6-4, 7-5, and they were joined by Henry Atseye and Clifford Enosoregbe.
Atseye partnered Kshitij Kamal from India to defeat Aaron Alcaraz Cortes and Kokou Missodey from Spain and Togo respectively, 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 in a nervy encounter.
Enosoregbe also played with Zimbabwe’s Tinotenda Chanakira to rout Stanilav Korshunov and Stefan Merunka from Russia and Croatia respectively 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile, all the top seeds at the inaugural edition of the ITF Abuja Futures have advanced to the second round, singles event of the competition.
Number one seed, India’s Nedunchezhiyan Jeevan defeated Nigeria’s Umaru Balami in two straight sets of 6-1, 6-2, Vorster Tucker from South Africa (2) proved a handful for David Forchap from Germany in a 6-1, 6-2 victory.
America’s Eric Quigley (3) beat Felix Hounkpei from Benin Republic 6-4, 7-6 (4) while number four seed Matija Pecotic from Croatia defeated South African, Joshua chetty 6-3, 6-2.
In the other matches, another American, Evan Song (5) whipped Refiloe Molaoa from South Africa 6-2, 6-0 just as Crowley Keith-Patrick, another South African, won hard-fighting Nigerian, Ikechukwu Iloputa in straight sets of 6-3, 6-2.
In arguably the most surprising match of the day, Nigeria’s Christian Paul, proved that his nine-week training tour of Egypt was not a waste as he dispatched British player, Joe Cooper, 6-1, 6-3 to the admiration of the teeming Nigerian fans at the centre court in Abuja.
The wild card Nigerian did not give the Briton any breathing space as he broke him twice to maintain a 4-0 lead in less than 30 minutes.
Cooper held serve to take the game to 1-4 but Paul had other ideas, as he held his own serve too and broke his rather troubled opponent to cement a 6-1 lead before the hour mark.
The second set was not a stroll in the park for the Nigerian as the Briton stepped up his game but it was not good enough to defeat the National Sports Festival gold medalist.
After the match, Paul stated; “the guy was tough but I used the advantage that I had. The court is very fast, so I quickly capitalised on that.
“I can also confidently say that the experience from the tour or Egypt was also instrumental to my performance. Then, the fact that Moses won on Monday also spurred me on”.
Action resumes on Wednesday at the Package B of the National Stadium as the six Nigerian players will seek to progress to the Q/Finals of the tournament.
Enosoregbe will tackle hard hitting number six seed, Deiton Baughman, Atseye takes on Song while Otu will seek to get the better of Vorster.
In the other fixtures, Paul plays number one seed, Jeevan, Moses will square up with Cortes Alcaraz from Spain and Albert Bikom will clash with Crowley.