CBN Open: Babalola Battles Emmanuel for Final Ticket


Five-time winner, Abdulmumuni Babalola thursday set up a semifinal showdown with Spain-based Sylvester Emmanuel as the 39th Central Bank of Nigeria Tennis Championship reaches its home-stretch in Lagos.

Babalola, who was recently elected as players’ representative on the incoming board of the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF), dispatched Nonso Madueke 6-3, 6-2 and is expected to face his biggest test today in the last-four clash with Emmanuel. The later is Nigeria’s number one tennis player according to the latest NTF rankings.

Emmanuel, who was a finalist in 2016 was in top form as he coasted to a 6-2, 6-2 win over Emmanuel Idoko.

The other semifinal match will see Joseph Imeh take on Emmanuel Sunday with Imeh ending the great run of youngster Christopher Bulus of the Aces Tennis Academy 6-3, 6-2 while Sunday edged 2015 winner Thomas Otu in a thrilling 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (4) match that lasted over two hours.

In the women’s singles, prime seed, Christie Agugbom coasted to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Omolayo Bamidele, a wildcard entrant and will face a familiar foe in Sarah Adegoke, the fourth seed triumphed over Aanu Aiyegbusi 6-1, 6-1.

Second- seeded Blessing Samuel, a 6-2, 6-4 victor over Angel McLeod is to confront kid sensation, Marylove Edward, whose powerful hits were too much for Deborah Gbadamosi to contend with in a one- sided match that ended 6-1, 6-0.

The 11-year-old was on a short training programme at the prestigious IMG Tennis Academy in the United States before this tournament and has been the surprise element here. Her great form will come under huge scrutiny against Abuja-based Samuel.
The final of the tournament which featured over 300 players is slated for saturday.