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Nigerian players fall like pack of cards

By Fidelis Ebu
Mohammed Ubale, Nigeria’s coach was a sorry sight yesterday as his players were battered in all cadres by the foreign invaders in the on-going African Junior Tennis Championship at the Tennis Complex of Abuja National Stadium.

Shortly after Michael Moses was stopped from advancing in the Under-16 Boys category by rampaging Montgomery Wayne from South Africa in two straight sets, Onyeka Mbanu featuring in the same age category fell 2-1 to Kamil Benmoussa of Morocco in the third round of the tournament.

“This is one of the things we experience in an outing like this. You win some and lose some, but two defeats in a stretch is not a good development. We have good players in the Under-16, but with the way their games have improved, they were moved to the Under-18 category where I believe they will fare well.

“We hope to improve in other categories. There are about three tournaments lumped together, and the real African Junior championship would be from next week”, Mohammed Ubale consoled himself.

Umaru Balami, however, made a difference as he outstroked Adam Noureldin of Sudan in two straight sets of 6/3, 6/2 to advance to the quarter-final stage.

Ubale, however, lost to Samuel Omoile ranked 608 in the ITF ladder in his first game of the cadre. He fell 6/2, 6/3 to distantly ranked Ismail Lahlou (1524) from Mauritius leaving David Ayeni and Nonso Madueke in the race.

Ayeni, ranked 1570 survived the qualifier game to the main draw where he dismissed Enrico Craighero of Italy in two straight sets of 6/2, 6/3, and would have third seeded Ahmed Triki of Tunisia to contend with in the second round. Madueke, a  wild card entrant was drawn bye to the second round and would trade strokes with Raman of India seeded 10th in the second round.

Biola Akewula, the only female in the Under-18 was dismissed in two straight sets by seventh seeded Laura Deigman from Great Britain.


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