Final matches of the 40th edition of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship ends with the sense of elevation and consolidation for men and women champions of the day.
During the matches at National Stadium, Abuja, Sylvester Emmanuel on Saturday came from behind to defeat Abdulmumuni Babalola, defending Champion in the men’s final, while Sarah Adegoke also came from behind to defend her title against Christie Agugbom.
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Emmanuel ended his third final encounter with Babalola 6-3, 7-6 and 6-4, while Adegoke defeated Agugbom, a former Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) number one seed 4-6, 7-5, 6-0.
The final matches kept dignitaries and other spectators in frenzy till their ends.
Emmanuel, who newly joined the list of CBN Open Champions, thanked God for fighting his way through, having defeated even NTF number one seed, Joseph Imeh, in the quarter-final.
“I played very good tennis and it worked for me, I thank God for that.
“I was happy to defeat my opponent (Babalola) in our third encounter today; it was not easy winning this tournament but I thank God for His blessings,” he said.
Similarly, Adegoke after her match heaved a sigh of relief.
“ I’m relieved now of all tensions, even if you are down, you should never give up.
“It was a game of tennis, anything can happen. Initially, I was not getting my rhythm. I had to tell myself `calm down’.
“My opponent is a really good player, she played her A-game today and I am very happy that I did not let down.’’
However, Babalola and Agugbom still went home with final cups in the men and women’s double.
Babalola paired with Lawal Shehu to defeat Nonso Madueke and Henry Atseye 6-2, 6-3.
Also, Agugbom and Blessing Samuel equally went home with the women doubles trophy by defeating Rose Abu and Bukola Olowu 6-2, 6-1.
`The victory means a lot to me, this is the first tournament of the year, I thanked CBN for sponsoring the competition,” she said.
Also in the Open Championship which is usually organized in collaboration with NTF, the physically challenged persons are not left out.
Alex Adewale defeated Wasiu Yusuf in the men’s Wheelchair tennis final 6-1, 6-1, while Kafayat Omisore humbled Chituru Nwaozuzu 6-1, 6-3 in finals of women wheelchair tennis.
Edward Adamu, Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, CBN (Sponsors of the tournament), said: “We will continue to be committed to tennis development in the country.
“Today’s victory is the beginning of more to come the way of both winners and upcoming winners of this event.”
Also, Ifedayo Akindoju, NTF President said: “I am happy for the successful conclusion of this 40th edition of CBN open, which is the first to be hosted by our board.
“More tournaments are going to come up this year through the board’s efforts which will further develop the game of tennis in the country.
“We will continue to appeal to CBN and other supporting sponsors of the game so that an academy can be established which will greatly influence our global performance in not distant future,” he said.
Among those that graced the occasion was Kehinde Ajayi, the first winner of the tournament and Veronika Iwebema (NeeOyibokia), seven times winner of the cup for women. (NAN)
NAN also reports that CBN Open and Dala Hard Court are the two national tournaments currently organized by NTF to rank tennis players.