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NCC Tennis League: VGC Lions, Kalotari win openers

*Team Oluyole, Optiweb lose at home

New comers Team VGC Lions of Lagos and Team Kalotari of Port Harcourt over the weekend got victories against host teams in Ibadan and Ilorin respectively.

Team Oluyole who were hosting topflight national tennis in Ibadan after almost 35 years, succumbed to fellow new comers 2- 5 while Team Kalotari who placed third in 2015 overwhelmed Team Optiweb of Ilorin 7-0.

Former national 18 & under champion Martins Abamu opened the account of the Lagos team by beating  Samson Adewale 6-3, 3-6, 6-4. Onyeka Mbanu followed with a close 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Sunday Okechukwu of Team Oluyole.

Former national top 10 player Lovette Donatus ensured a clean sweep of the three points on offer on opening day by defeating Colleen Orji 6-4, 4-0 (scratch) in the ladies’ singles.

Team Oluyole fought back on Sunday claiming one reverse singles and the men’s doubles through Okechukwu who beat George Abamu 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 and the pair of Ganiyu Salami and Kunle Bamidele who bested the Abamu brothers 6-4, 7-6.

The VGC Lions, however made sure of the point by winning one reverse singles and the mixed doubles.

In Ilorin, Team Kalotari won all the seven matches without dropping a set to sweep the tie.

Christian Paul beat Emmanuel Ikakah in the first men’s singles 6-1, 6-3; Emmanuel Sunday defeated Sunday Emeruwa 6-4, 6-2 and Blessing Samuel outplayed Oluchi Ozurumba 6-3, 6-2 to win the three singles matches on opening day.

Ikechukwu Iloputa then paired Paul to win the men’s doubles against Kareem Badmus and Henry John 6-3, 6-4 to put the tie beyond the reach of the host team.

The reverse singles and the mixed doubles were a lot closer. Sunday beat Ikakah 6-1, 7-5 and Paul defeated Emeruwa 6-2, 6-3 while Paul and Samuel teamed to edge Badmus and Ozurumba 6-4, 7-5.

The two ties completed the first round of matches in the Blue Group with Team Muller, Team VGC Lions and Team Kalotari having one point each.

The six teams in each group are expected to play five round robin matches with the best two qualifying for the semifinals and finals.

This weekend (Saturday & Sunday) will see the six teams in the White Group in action in three cities.

Team CBN Futures, starring junior tennis sensation Marylove Edwards, will be hosting Team Ndoma-Egba at the National Stadium Lagos; Team Tech Vibe of Jos will host defending champions Team Offikwu of Kaduna while Team Yetade of Ado-Ekiti will be at home against Team Goshen of Ilorin.

The NCC Tennis League is offering a consolidated prize money of N23 million with the champions getting N7 million.

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