Nigeria is sure of getting a gold medal in both the girls and boys U-14 and U-16 categories at the ongoing African Junior Tennis Championship in Togo.
Number one seed, Seun Ogunsakin, battled his fiercest rival and friend, Mubarak Ganiyu, for a place in the final of the Boys U-16 yesterday.
At the moment, the duo is Nigeria’s most talented youngsters, and yesterday’s meeting was their 20th battle inside the court. Honor was on the line as Ogunsakin, who is the tournament’s No 1 seed. He had won 10 of their 19 previous meetings, while Mubarak was looking to equal the record head to head.
In a tough battle that went on for over two hours, Ogunsakin got the better of Mubarak in two tight sets. The Ekiti-born player won 7-6, 6-4 to advance to the final of the competition. He is the tournament’s number one seed and has been tipped as clear favorite for the gold.
Bright Emmanuel also qualified for the final of the girls U-14 event, yesterday, after shocking Ndidi Osaji, who was a favourite at the start of hostilities.
She beat Osaji 6-1, 6-2 in a match of deuces, to become the first Nigerian medalist at the competition.
Also, Khadijat Mohammed’s 6-0, 6-2 defeat of her opponent ensured an all-Nigeria final in the girls U-14 event. She will play today against Bright Emmanuel, another bright junior player, for the gold medal.
Earlier yesterday, Ogunsakin had a field day against Saheed Boateng of Ghana, winning 6-3, 6-3 to set up the mouthwatering semifinal clash against Mubarak, who also saw off Yves Segui Kouadja from Ivory Coast. The Nigerian won in two straight sets of 6-3, 6-4.
Yahaya Sani cramped against Pakome Kakpo from Benin Republic, though he was trailing 3-6 against his opponent. Etoro Bassey, who looked to leave her mark in the tournament, also suffered the same fate, as she lost despite leading a set to love and was 2-0 up a break in the second set.
David Edwards was also on the losing side, but will still play the losers match to improve his rankings.