Tennis: Sylvester, Oyinlomo claim Vemp Open singles titles



Nigeria’s number one tennis player, Sylvester Emmanuel claimed a 2-6, 6-4 (rtd) victory over Joseph Imeh to defend his Vemp Open men’s singles title in Abuja at the weekend.

The 21-year-old had bounced back from an opening set loss to take the second set before Imeh retired due to a groin injury.

Both men began their final contest – a repeat of last year’s – by trading breaks early in the opening set. Imeh would secure the first hold of the match in the 5th game for 3-2 and then break Emmanuel in the next game to go 4-2 up. The defending champion lost his edge on serve again, as Imeh carved out his fourth break in the 8th game to take the set.

In the second set, Imeh opened a 3-1 lead after forcing a break in the fourth game. But Emmanuel fought back, breaking back immediately and consolidating with a hold to draw level at 3-3. The top seed would raise his level some more to break in the ninth game for 5-4 before holding serve in the next to close out the set.

However, Imeh, who was looking to claim his second national title this year, could not continue due to injury. Victory hands Emmanuel his 3rd national title of the year—following triumphs at the CBN Open and Rainoil Open—and N324,000 in prize-money.

And in the female category, Oyinlomo Quadre, the country’s number one female player defeated Christie Agugbom to claim the women’s singles title and her fourth consecutive national title.

The 16-year-old wrapped up a 6-1, 6-0 victory on Centre Court of the National Tennis Centre, Saturday afternoon, to complete a clean sweep of national titles in 2019.

Agugbom started well, as she held serve in the opening game for 1-0. But Quadre took control of the contest from there, winning the next 12 games to clinch victory.

Quadre had beaten Agugbom by the same scoreline to claim the CBN Open title in June and also defeated the 37-year-old to secure the Rainoil Open title last week. Her victory today stretched her head-to-head lead over the veteran to 3-0 this year. Meshed in between her CBN Open and Rainoil Open title-triumphs is the Dala Hard Court title, which she clinched in Kano last month.

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