Africa’s leading tennis player Mohammed Safwat of Egypt, took two hours yesterday to despatch Nicholas Meister of the United States 6- 4, 6-4 to reach the Tombim Futures Tennis Tournament in Abuja. Playing at the centre courts of the of the Abuja Tennis Club, Safwat ranked 276 and seeded number two for the Tombim/ITF tournament showed enough experience as he combined his baseline play to outwit the rugged American ranked 360 and seeded number four for the Tombim.
Safwat will now meet Antal van Der Duim of the Netherlands who also outplayed David Perez Sans of Spain 7-6, 6-3 in another thrilling encounter also decided at the Centre courts of the National Stadium Tennis Courts.
Many had given Perez the number one seed and ITF ranked 259 player the game against VanDer Duim ranked 355 by the ITF , even before the first service, but Van Der Duim showed enough strength to take the first set which went into tie break at 7-6. He finally dumped Perez 6-3 to book a place for today’s first leg finals which comes up at the same venue by 3;pm
The two players will enter into today’s finals with 27 points added to their ITF ranking. But the winner will however get seven points more for winning the first leg.
Safwat had come to the Abuja tournament for the first time after winning 42 Futures tournament in Egypt out of the 52 he played. The Abuja performance will help improve his ranking.
The second leg of the Tombim /ITF Futures Tournament starts on Monday after Sunday break with all the players battling for the points needed to break into the Challenger series.
Only Moses Michael got to the Quater finals before losing out to David Perez, out of the four Nigerian players including Imeh Joseph, Sylvester Emmanuel and Thomas Otu, were dumped after picking the wild cards for the tournament.