Defending Men’s singles champion, Moses Michael will begin the quest to defend his crown against Sani Adamu as the main draw of the 39th Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) Senior Open Tennis Championship gets underway in Lagos on Monday.
US-based top seed surprisingly stormed the country on Friday announcing his participation at the event on his Facebook page barely a day after it was announced he will be missing the tournament which has N700, 000 for singles winners and N500, 000 for finalists.
His main rival and No. 2 seed, Sylvester Emmanuel, who was defeated in last year’s final, will however open his campaign against Richard Ogbu, qualifier. The Spain-based Emmanuel had a disappointing outing at the Tombim, Dayak and GSL ITF Futures held recently in Abuja and is looking forward to a successful campaign before heading back to the Pereriba Tennis Academy in Barcelona.
Clifford Enosoregbe and Thomas Otu have dates to keep with Wale Babalola and Chinedu Iwuagwu just as old war horse Sunday Maku faces a banana skin test in Christopher Itodo, a wild card entrant.
Five-time winner, Abdulmumuni Babalola will battle Ismaila Adeshina, and another match that will draw attention is between Gabriel and Christopher Bulus both of whom are Nigeria junior internationals. Abuja-based Henry Atseye and Taiwo Owolabi also go head-to-head.
In the Women’s singles, top seed Christie Agugbom faces Oluchi Ozurumba while Blessing Samuel and Sarah Adegoke who are the second and third seeds confront Omotayo Osewa and Beauty Oghenekevwe respectively. Former winner, Ronke Akingbade is favoured to come out top in her clash with Amata Nwokolo, a wild card beneficiary. Youngster Angel McLeod have her hands full as she confronts Christy Nwankwo just as Ebere Fortune and Ngozi Dirisu clash.
Defending champion Melissa Ifidzhen is also listed for action against Folarin Akosile while Aminat Quadri, elder sister of junior tennis sensation Barakat Quadri, duels with Pauline Ebijimi.
“Melissa has yet to officially inform the secretarial of her absence or otherwise so she is in the main draw. If after 15 minutes she did not show up for her match, then she will be replaced by a lucky loser,” Tournament Referee, Saidu Musa said.