ITF Futures: Nigerian Players Cruise On In Abuja

Nigeria’s Thomas Otu returns a serve during his match against Croat, Merunka Stefan, as he strokes to the second round of the ongoing Tombim Abuja Open holding at the Federal Capital Territory. Photo and story By: Ebenezer Osamo, Abuja. –

Nigerian players commenced their campaign in the ongoing Tombim Abuja Open on a bright note, as no fewer than five of them defeated some highly rated foreign opponents to advance to the second round of the competition holding at the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. reports that Moses Michael, winner of last year’s Abridged Governor’s Cup, caused the first upset at the Circuit, defeating Kokou Missodey who is ranked 1564 in the world, in straights sets of 6-1, 6-2 in their first round match.
Just as Michael cruised to the second round of the money-spinning tournament, Henry Atseye also routed Borges Pereira Kevin of Brazil, 6-1, 6-1 in a one-sided affair at the Package B of the National Stadium in Abuja.
Playing at the centre court, Atseye gave his opponent no breathing space as he quickly stroked to a 4-1 lead before finishing him in less than two hours under intense heat.
Otu ensured a hat-trick of wins for Nigeria as he was responsible for the scalp of Merunka Stefan, a Croatian player ranked 2184 in the world.
Albert Bikom, just back from France, also ensured a massive representation of Nigeria in the second round with a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Kshitij Kamal of India.
In arguably the toughest match of the day, Nigeria’s number one male tennis player, Clifford Enosoregbe, lived up to pre-tournament billing as one of Nigeria’s best, when he ousted 2014 Governor’s Cup Lagos Championship losing finalist, Duncan Mugabe, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
The players twice broke each other in the first set, before Enosoregbe toppled his opponent in a 5-3 lead. But, Mugabe twice broke Enosoregbe and served out to lead at 6-5.
The 2014 Dala Hardcourt winner served to tie the match at 6-6 before winning the tie break with seven games to three.
The second set was quite frustrating for the Ugandan, who lost composure and the Nigerian capitalised on this to outplay the Ugandan number one tennis player to join other Nigerians in the second around.
Enosoregbe told after the match that: “I practised a bit before the tournament because of the difference in weather conditions from where I stay, so it was quite easy for me to cope.
“I can confirm to you, just like you saw, that it was a really difficult match for me. But, I just remained focused because I really had to win to make it to the next round.
“I hope to take the games as they come as the tournament progresses”.

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