*Nigerians whitewashed in opening day string of defeats
As the 1st GSL Open Nigeria F3 Futures served off Monday in Abuja with all the seeds in action cruising to comfortable wins. Sylvester Emmanuel, Clifford Enosoregbe had testy duels to start this championship.
Top on the list is second seed, Brayden Schnur of Canada, who coasted to a 6-0, 6-1 win over Indian Mohit Jahin while there was also a one-sided match which saw third seed, Alessandro Bega of Italy overran Nigeria’s Thomas Otu 6-1, 6-1 on Centre Court.
Henry Atseye and Christian Paul were beaten 6-0, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-1 by Christopher Diaz-Figueroa of Guatemala and Kunan Anand of India as Centre Court turned to be a horrible site for Nigerians on the opening day of the main draw. A forgetful day for Nigerians was completed by the 6 -0, 6-2 defeat of Joseph Iyorovbe by David Argazinski of Poland.
Nigerians will continue their quest for redemption Tuesday as the trio of Sylvester Emmanuel, Clifford Enosoregbe and Joseph Ubon bid for second round tickets amid testy duels.
Spain-based Emmanuel, who partnered French-Nigerian Calvin Hemery to reach the final of the Dayak Championship last week, confronts Norwegian Viktor Durasovic while Enosoregbe is expected to have his hands full as he faces Egyptian Karim Hossam. Ubon, on his part, battles Takanyi Garaganga of Zimbabwe in what is also an uphill task despite the fact that the sixth seed is yet to fully recover from a leg injury sustained last week.
Other matches of interest will see top seed Hemery faces a tricky test against Brazilian Fabiano De Paula while Serbian fourth seed, Pedjan Krstin starts his bid for back-to-back titles against American Wildcard entrant, Alafia Ayeni, who has Nigerian roots, following his triumph at last week’s Dayak Championships.
in the doubles, Schnur and Benjamin Lock of Zimbabwe defeated Hemery and Ayeni 6-4 6-2 to move to the quarterfinals. They are joined by Bega and Krstin who overpowered Joe Cooper of Great Britain and Serb Krstin 7-5, 6-4.
Meanwhile, Serbian Pedja Krstin upsets top seed Frenchman Calvin Hemery 6-2, 6-4 to emerge champion of the Dayak Championship Nigeria F2 Futures in Abuja on Saturday – the same day his superstar compatriot, Novak Djokovic was beaten with the same scoreline by Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open.
The fourth-seeded Krstin had in the semifinal claimed the scalps of Canadian second seed, Brayden Schnur, who won the Tombim Open Nigeria F1 Futures, and showed he meant business breaking world no 279 Hemery, a half-Nigerian, to love in the first game.
The final match, which had Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Tourism and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Udo Udoma and former Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada as Special Guests, saw Hemery responded instantly to tie the game but it was the Serbian that won the next four games to lead 5-1; an advantage he held to see off the set with a 6-2 scoreline.
There was only one break in the second set and it went to Krstin, who in 2014, won four Futures titles and one Challenger which helped him to career-high world no 159 in the ITF ranking.
Mohammed, in his remarks during the presentation ceremony stated that the three week event, which will end with the GSL Open Nigeria F3 Futures, is beyond tennis as it has been enhancing Nigeria’s Tourism potential as well as the nation’s hospitality.
He said, “With over 60 foreigners from about 25 countries representing six continents of the world staying in our country for over three weeks, this event has served as an avenue to tell more about our dear country that we are a peaceful and hospitable nation. We are happy that a sport like tennis is giving us a very good image because all the players will tell good story of Nigeria when they get back to their countries.”
Meanwhile, the 1st GSL Open Nigeria F3 Futures will serve off Monday with no less than six Nigerians in the main draw.