By John Egbokhan
To all the doomsday prophets, a word of caution, hope is rising for Nigerian tennis as wild card entrant, Clifford Enosoregbe yesterday achieved the unprece-dented by upsetting eight seed Maciej Smola to reach the men’s singles quarter-final of the Lagos Governor’s Cup Futures 5.
On a day that other Nigerians bid bye to the tournament, Enoseregbe literally pulled the chestnut out of the fire by beating his more illustrious European foe in three thrilling and tantalising sets of 7-6(1),3-6,6-2 to become the last Nigerian standing in the longest-running international point-awarding tournament in sub-sahara Africa.
To put it in proper perspective, Enosoregbe is playing in the tournament because of a wild card granted him by the Nigeria Tennis Federation. Put in another way, he had no ranking point going into the tournament and would have played at least two matches in the qualifying round to get into the main draw, which served off on Monday at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
Unlike the eight seed Pole, who came with some ranking points of 1039, Enosoregbe came with a heavy baggage but how well did he carry it and made his way to the last eight stage of the event?
It took guts, brain and athleticism for the Edo-born player to achieve this top feat, which throws him deeper into the burning fire as he contends with fourth seed from India, Sasi Kumar Mukund for a place in the semifinal.
After the unceremonious exits of his countrymen in yesterday’s other singles matches, all eyes and support will turn to Enosoregbe as he attempts to continue his remarkable Cinderella story today at the Governor’s Cup Tennis.