By John Egbokhan
Briton Jack Draper has emerged the Lagos Open Futures 5 men’s singles champion, beating French top seed, Tom Johnby in three sets 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Court, Onikan.
Playing before a largely pro-Johnby crowd that thronged the Lord Rumens Centre, the 16 year old Brit held his nerves to cause a huge shock of the tournament, with his stunning comeback victory against the seemingly impregnable, big-hitting and ace-serving French six-footer Johnby, who had topped all to win the Futures 4 at the same venue on October 6.
It was going according to the script for the top seed Johnby, who easily took the opening set, with two break points and looked on course for a consecutive final hurrah in the second set until he took a medical timeout to receive treatment for a suspected injury and obvious tiredness.
Sensing that his French foe was tired and in some discomfort, 16 year-old Draper, who is the new kid on the block in Britain, went for the jugular of Johnby and it paid, taking the second set 6-3, with one break point in the sixth game, to take the match into a third set, that got the watching crowd all giggling with excitement.
With Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode watching with rapt attention, Draper showed uncommon focus and unusual dexterity in the deciding set, which he won 6-4, to send his supporting fans into a frenzy of celebration as he crashed on the court to celebrate a top achievement against his more experienced foe.
In the women’s singles final, Indian Yadlapalli, Pranjala defeated Swiss Corrin Perin iin two sets 6-1, 7-6 to make it a second bite of the cherry in Lagos.