Nigeria’s number two, Sylvester Emmanuel, on Tuesday lost 4-6, 3-6 to Bega Alessandro of Italy in the first round of the singles event at the Tombim Abuja Open tennis tournament.

The tournament, which is an International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures event where players can garner Association of Tennis Professional (ATP) points, is ongoing at the Abuja National Stadium.

Emmanuel, who was ranked 1162 in the world, reached the quarter-finals of the Lagos Governor’s Cup last year, however said the game was a good experience for him.

“Tennis is like that. Sometimes you win, and at other times you lose.

“It is also a good experience for me, though. I fought as hard as I could hoping to get a good result, but unfortunately I lost.

“I was also able to notice that I needed to be solid with the baseline,’’ he said.

Alessandro, on his part, hailed the effort of his opponent, while describing the game as tough.

“Sylvester is a good player and I respect him a lot.

“ It was however a tough match because he was serving great, really good service even from the baseline.

“So, I had to be focused and I broke him twice,’’ he said.

Newsmen report that a baseline is the rearmost line of the court, furthest from and parallel to the net in a tennis court.

In the other matches played, Kumar Mukund of India defeated fellow countryman Anvit Bendre 6-2, 6-4 while Raman Rishabdev also of India was humbled 6-2, 6-0 by Ivan Marrero from Spain.

Another Nigerian, Emmanuel Emeruwa, also fell 1-6, 1-6 to the tactics of Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Lock while Moez Echargui of Tunisia defeated Australia’s Mark Verryth 6-4, 6-4.

The tournament which has over 50 players jostling for the 25,000 dollars prize money began on Monday and will end on Saturday.

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