By John Egbokhan
After two failed attempts, Michael Oshewa, weekend, finally broke the jinx of being the only top three junior player in the country yet to win the NNPC/Chevron Junior Masters, by beating Stephen Augustine in the final of the 17th edition of the tournament.
Playing on the Lord Rumens Centre Court of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Oshewa, who was amongst the Team Nigeria squad that shone like stars at the last International Tennis Federation (ITF) West and Central Africa Junior Championship in Cotonou and Lome, showed class, determination,and grit in his straight sets 6-4, 7-6 victory over Augustine and ink his name as the 17th winner of the longest-running junior tennis championship in the country.
Going into the match watched by an appreciable crowd that included school pupils, who beamed with excitement at the end of every rally,, Augustine, who had lost in the last seven meetings against Oshewa, was unable to shake off the seeming fear of facing his nemesis, playing catchup from the fifth game when Oshewa broke with a right hand winner down the line,.
That was the break the latter was waiting for, putting his nose in front and never looking back as he closed out the first set 6-4 in a little 37 minutes.
If the first set was easy, the next was the reverse, as Augustine dug deep, in his attempt to take the match to a decider, rattling Oshewa as early as the third game, only to be paid back in his own coin but managed to push his foe to tie-break, which he inadvertently lost in rather dramatic fashion.
After pushing Oshewa to the brink of defeat in the second set, Augustine somehow and rather clumsily allowed the initiative to slip him, serving wide twice, before making two unforced errors to gift the set and match to Oshewa, who pumped his fist in the air to celebrate the victory.
He was cheered by the school pupils, who were truly entertained by the serves, volleys and winners of the two finalists, who made the day a truly memorable one for tennis faithful, who went home entertained and satisfied.