Brazilian Joao Menezes signed off a memorable three-week exploit in Nigeria in a spectacular fashion by clinching the GSL Open Nigeria F3 Futures in Abuja following a 6-3, 6-1 win over Arjun Kadhe of India, the fourth seed.
It was the 21-year-old’s second title in the Nigerian capital having claimed the Tombim Open Nigeria F1 Futures a fortnight earlier. In fact, but for his loss to Austrian Maximillian Neuchrist at the final of Dayak Championship Nigeria F2 Futures a week earlier, he would have had a clean-sweep of the combined three-leg $75, 000 prize-money event.
|Menezes won two different ITF Futures and moved up the ladder to rank among the top 400 players in the world. Photo credit: Nigeria Tennis Federation Facebook Page.
Before coming to Nigeria, the right-handed double handed backhand South American was ranked outside the top 400 but he rose to a career high 394 position just after clinching the Tombim Open Nigeria F3 Futures and he is expected to rise further when the next ATP ranking is released next week.
Menezes’ phenomenal performance at the hard court tournament – which is not his favourite clay surface- was best highlighted by his triumphs over four seeded players en route his GSL Open triumph.
He saw off seventh-seeded Ronnie Schneider of the USA in the second round before claiming the scalps of Neuchrist, the third seed, in the quarterfinal. Moez Echargui of Tunisia was next to bow to his firepower in the semifinal before the win over Kadhe.
Frenchmen Remi Boutillier and Tom Jomby paired to clinch the doubles title with a 4-6, 7-6 (3), 10-3 win over Kadhe and Ronnie Schneider of the U.S.A.
Nigeria Tennis Federation president, Dayo Akindoju in his speech highlighted the gains of the tournament saying it will in many ways help develop Nigerian tennis.
Akindoju who bankrolled the Dayak Championship pointed that over 20 Nigerians featured in the tournament some of whom are relatively young.
“These tournaments serve as a form of exposure for some of our players especially the young ones that took park, and we believe this will aid in fast-tracking their development in the game,” he stated.