Sports

November 18, 2018

Rainoil Tennis: Imeh Beats Atseye to End Long Wait for National Title

Rainoil Tennis: Imeh Beats Atseye to End Long Wait for National Title

Joseph Imeh Saturday night ended his long wait for a major national title by winning the 2nd Rainoil Open Tennis Championship following a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Henry Atseye at Ikoyi Club.

Imeh, the Nigeria Tennis Federation top-ranked player, underlined his intention to break the jinx of losing in the final of four major tournaments winning to love all his first three serves but Atseye, who had made a giant comeback to defeat Abdulmumin Babalola and Sylvester Emmanuel in the quarterfinals and semifinals, responded by winning his first three games as the game went with serves

Imeh had lost four finals in a row the third of which was against Atseye in the inaugural edition held at the Lagos Country Club, a clay-court facility then went 4-3 up before getting a crucial break at 5-3 with Atseye sending his Roger Federer-like one-handed backhand way out. He rounded off the set with a drop shot which drew resounding applause from the tennis fans which include Ikoyi Club Chairman Tunde Akinleye, who thronged the venue of the nine-day event.

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With Atseye struggling with a sprain ankle, Imeh got a break from the start of the second set and there was no holding back for the former South Africa-based junior international as he rounded off the match 6-2. He got N500, 000 while Atseye pocketed N250, 000.

In the women’s singles, Abuja-based Blessing Samuel came back from the dead as she outlasted Christie Agugbom, 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 to pocket the N400, 000 champion’s prize while Agugbom got N200, 000.

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Group Managing Director, Rainoil, Dr. Gabriel Ogbechie promised to make the tournament bigger in subsequent edition. He noted that tennis is one of the most lucrative sports with global appeal and urged individuals and corporate bodies to invest in the sport which among other benefits can take families out of poverty.