MaryLove Edwards and Nonso Madueke at the weekend won the women and men’s singles titles respectively at the 44th Central Bank of Nigeria Open Tennis Championship held at the MKO Abiola Stadium, Abuja.
In the men’s singles final, Madueke ran home upset pundits’ favourite for the title, Henry Atseye, who succumbed to injury. Atseye picked the first set at 6-2, while Madueke won the second 7-6 and they settled for a tiebreak. Madueke was leading 2-0 when injury forced Atseye to retire.
To get to the final, Atseye defeated third seed, Wilson Igbinovia, 6-4, 7-6, 6-4 in one of the two semifinal games on Saturday, while Madueke triumphed 6-2, 7-5 over Abayomi Philips.
Teenage star, Edwards, who upset defending champion, Oyinlomo Quadre, in the semifinals on Saturday, defeated Aanu Aiyegbusi 6-3, 6-4 to record her best achievement in her tennis profession.
The 17-year-old Edwards outclassed defending champion and three times winner, Oyinlomo Quadre, 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 in one of the semifinals, while Aiyegbusi stopped Oiza Yakubu 6-1, 6-1 in the second semifinals.
Speaking after beaten Quadre, Edwards said it was a nice feeling defeating the champion, who had always had the upper hand in their meetings.
Edwards said: “Nothing has changed, but the table switches. I have worked so hard to achieve this having come so close severally and missing it. This year, God said it is my turn.”
Edwards later paired with Quadre to win the women’s doubles title, while Ochei Adei combined with Igbinovia to win the men’s doubles title by beating the duo of Mathew Abamu and China Michael, 6-3, 6-4.
In the wheelchair category, Alex Adewale beat Wasiu Yusuf, 6-2, 6-7,7-5 to win the men’s singles title, while Kafayat Omisore defeated Oluwakemi Segun, 6-1, 6-2 to win the ladies singles crown.
Meanwhile, men’s doubles title winner, Wilson Igbinovia, is blaming poor officiating for his loss in the semifinal against top seed, Atseye.
The 18-year old junior sensation, said he was determined to subdue Atseye in their last four game, ‘but the line judge rocked the boat.’
“The bad call totally demoralised me. Yes, Henry Atseye is not unbeatable. I have beaten him recently and was determined to repeat same shock when the line judge made the very bad call.
“It was glaring that the ball was far, far out, but the line judge made the bad decision and I found it extremely hard to quickly overcome; I eventually lost hope in the match”, Igbinovia told The Guardian.
With scintillating performance in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior Circuit, Igbinovia is aiming to further his tennis career in the United States, where he hopes to combine playing tennis with education.
“Plans are in the advanced stage to pursue my tennis career and education in the US. And I hope to be the country’s Davis Cup team soon”, he said.