David Ekpenyong and MaryLove Edwards, at the weekend in Abuja, beat the field to win the 45th CBN Senior National Open Tennis Championship men and women singles respectively.
The men’s number two seed won his first CBN Senior Open title when his opponent, number one seed, Uche Oparaoji, was forced to retire with a shoulder injury while trailing 6-1, 4-1.
Ekpenyong won his opening service game and broke the DavNotch Open champion to take a 3-1 lead to start the contest. Oparaoji, playing in the second singles final in the space of three weeks, called for a medical timeout after losing the opening game of the second set before quitting the match midway.
The victory ensured that the Vemp Open runner-up, Ekpenyong, who coincidentally lost to Oparaoji in the final a fortnight ago, won his second title in Abuja, following his DavNotch Open triumph.
Speaking on his victory, 17-year-old Ekpenyong said it was a sweet victory for him as he avenged his earlier defeat in the final to his fierce-rival.
“I am elated and feel very fulfilled having won my first CBN Senior title. It has been my lifelong dream to win this title, having won the junior U14 category. I have participated in this tournament every year and also watched people win the final; I always wished it would be me, and here I am now holding the much-coveted trophy,” he said.
Ekpenyong added that his opponent is someone he is very familiar with, having played against him four times now.
“He beat me at the Dala Hard Court tournament in Kano in November before I returned the favour at the Rain Oil tournament in Lagos in December. I also lost to him at the Vemp Open final here two weeks ago, and so, besides winning my first CBN title, I was also determined and focused on winning today to even our head-to-head record,” he said.
In the women’s singles event, number one seed, Edwards, continued with her ruthless form, as she dismissed number two seed, Aanu Aiyegbusi, 6-2, 6-3, to claim a third straight title in Abuja. The country’s top-ranked female player had won both the 2023 VEMP Open and the DavNotch Tennis Open Championship titles, respectively in Abuja, coming into this tournament last week.
She showed no signs of fatigue, even after a busied month, as she raced through the first set and had to come from 0-3 down in the second set to wrap up the match in straight sets.
In the men’s doubles event, Matthew Abamu and Chima Michael teamed up to beat the pair of Albert Bikom and Peter Lawal, who had to retire 7-5, 4-4 with scores even in the second set.
In the Wheelchair tennis men’s event, top seed, Alex Adewale eased past Williams Ukari to an incredible 6-2, 6-2 victory to claim his 11th consecutive title at the CBN Open. Nigeria’s top wheelchair female player, Kafayat Omisore, emerged victorious as well in a 7-6 (2), 6-4 contest against Kemi Oluwasegun.