By Olayinka Elebute
Joseph Imeh at the weekend retained his Dala Hard Court title by beating archrival Sylvester Emmanuel 2-0 to produce history in the 33 year old championship.
Imeh produced a rock-solid performance to outclass Sylvester Emmanuel 6-3, 6-3 to claim his second consecutive Dala Hard Court title in Kano.
It was the second straight final between both men in Kano, and it was Imeh who prevailed again, becoming only the 6th man to defend the men’s singles title in the competition’s 33-year history.
Emmanuel, bidding for his 3rd title after victories in 2015 and 2016, got the best start, as he broke Imeh’s opening service game for 1-0. Imeh, however, responded immediately, breaking back to restore parity at 1-1.
Both men would keep things with serve until the 8th game, where Imeh carved out the decisive break for 5-3 before consolidating with a hold to take the set and hand Emmanuel his first set-loss of the tournament.
Imeh ramped up the pressure on the top seed in the second set, as he got a break in the opening game for 1-0. With the score at 3-5 later on, and Emmanuel serving to stay in the match, Imeh secured a break, his 2nd of the set, to emerge victorious.
It’s been a remarkable week for Imeh, who worked his way to the final and successfully defended his title without dropping a set. The 22-year-old pockets a million naira in prize-money.
World Tennis Association WTA 900 ranked Nigeria, Oyinlomo Quadre, 16, produced a powerful performance to beat 4th seed, Aanu Aiyegbusi 6-2, 6-0 and claim her first Dala Hard Court title in Kano over the weekend.
The current Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Oyinlomo moved through the first set efficiently, and only faced a minor inconvenience in the 7th game, when Aiyegbusi broke at 5-2. Quadre, however, wrapped up the set in the next game before powering through the second set without any troubles.
The Nigerian number one earned her second consecutive national title after her title-triumph at the CBN Open in June, and pocketed N600,000 in prize-money in just 57-minute.