By John Egbokhan
The scramble is on for international ranking points at the Governor’s Cup Futures 1, with home-boy, Sylvester Emmanuel making waves after sensationally upsetting American Anderson Reed in straight sets win, 7-6, 6-3 to move into the second round.
It was supposed to be a routine match for the American but playing against an inspired Emmanuel, who got into the main draw on the wings of a wild card, Reed found a foe, to hard to crack in their first round match held at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
The opening set was a close one as both players held serve right to the 13th game, which Emmanuel won on tie breaker.
In the second set, Emmanuel took his game to a level, breaking Reed in the opening game and never looked back till he wrapped up match 6-3. His victory seems shocking given that Nigerian players always like a pack of cards when facing foreigners from America and Europe.
Instructively, however, his victory does not does not come as a surprise to tennis faithful; who are privy to the reality that Emmanuel has in the last three months, been playing in Futures events in USA, Togo and Republic of Benin.
He has garnered the match experience needed to confront other players with similar exposure, a luxury that most Nigerian players do not have, accounting for their poor ranking and general poor play.
The other Nigerians through to the next round of the men’s singles are Mohammed Mohammed, who defeated Ghana’s Bernard Dugbah 4-6, 5-3, 5-3 and Albert Bikom, who outlasted Swiss Jessy Kalambay 5-7, 6-4, 7-5. In the women’s singles, Ronke Akingbade defeated Christie Nwankwo 4-6, 6-2, 6-1, while Blessing Samuel lost to Osariemen Airhumwunde 4-6,4, 2.-6.