*All top Nigerian players crash out
By Adeyemi Robinson-Adefioye, Lagos
Main draw of the first week of the 2017 Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship served off on a rather surprising note as top seed, Karim Mohamed-Mamooun of Egypt crashed out following a 2-6, 2-6 loss to unseeded Stephan Fransen of the Netherlands.
Karim Mohamed-Mamooun of Egypt who had featured at the previous three Nigeria Futures held in Abuja early this year, was an overwhelming favourite to win the match on Court Three having rose few places in the past week to hit the top of the ranking for the tournament pushing Turkey’s Cem Ilkel to number two. He had no answer to the aggressive play of the 29-year-old right-handed double hand backhand player.
There was no joy either for the home fans as some of the country’s top players were also sent packing in the first round of the two-stage $100, 000 prize-money tournament as Clifford Enosoregbe, who was Nigeria’s best performer in the last edition, lost 3-6, 0-6 to Andrew Watson of Great Britain while reigning CBN Open champion, Abdulmumini Babalola also succumbed 0-6, 3-6 to Johan Tatlot of France.
It was the same story for Joseph Imeh who scratched against Serbian Ilija Vucic having lost 1-6 in the first set.
An unmemorable day for Babalola and Enosoregbe was completed on the Lord Rumens’ Centre Court as they were edged 6-7 (2), 6-7 (4) by fourth-seeded French duo of Tom Jomby and Sebastien Tatlot.
With the early exits of some of the country’s top players, the chances of the country to make significant impact in the tournament now rest on the junior players some of whom are making their debut at the big stage.
It would be recalled that Nigeria’s Henry Atseye joined some of his compatriots in the main draws of the Governor’s Cup. He defeated Nigerian, Christian Paul, in two straight sets of 6-1, 6-0, to move beyond the preliminary stages of the competition to the thick of the action.
Other Nigerians in the main draws are Oyinlomo Quadri, Christopher Bulus, Adetayo Adetunji.
Turkish Cem Ilkel is the top seed in the men’s singles. A former champion, Conny Perrin of Switzerland is the top seed in the women’s singles.