Mary-Love Edwards, has retained the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN Junior Open girls U-12 trophy which she won last year but lost in the U-16 category.
Edwards achieved this enviable feat by defeating her opponent, Kaosara Adegboyega, 9-0 to end the tournament unbeaten in that age category.
However, she lost 1-9 to a more experienced Zainab Oladimeji in the U-16 category, thereby missing out on the International Tennis Academy’s special grant of N100,000 earmarked for any player who wins in two different age categories.
The loss also ended the youngster’s fairytale run in the tournament after she cruised to the finals with consecutive 9-0 wins over most of her opponents in the U-16 category.
A disappointed Mary-Love said that she got tired at a point but still thought that she would be able to make it back into the game at 1-3 down.
“At a stage in the match, I could not keep up with the pace of my opponent because she looked stronger,” Edwards said.
“I still thought that I could come back into the game when I was two games down but I actually got tired at a point.
“I will definitely bounce back next year and try to win this category,” she added.
An elated Oladimeji, who spoke with P.M.NEWS Sport after receiving her winner’s trophy, hailed the performance of 9-year-old Mary-Love.
While tipping Mary-Love to become a great player in the nearest future, Oladimeji said that it was her first time of playing the young girl and she was very impressed with what she saw.
“It was my first time of playing Mary-Love and because she defeated my doubles partner (Fortune Anisio), I was quite scared going into this match.
“I discovered some weaknesses which she got and I capitalised on this to win the match. I had to use drop shots, deep balls and the back-hand and they worked out perfectly,” said Oladimeji, who is one of the players representing Nigeria at the African Junior Tennis Championship, AJTC, presently going on in Kenya.
In other final matches, Chidinma Ezeh defeated Iya Onoja, 9-3 in the girls’ U-10, while Usman Kushimo beat Victor Tom, 9-7 in the boys’ U-10.
In the boys’ U-12 category, Gabriel Friday outplayed Matthew Abamu, 9-2 just as the male outstanding player of the tournament, Tochukwu Eze, bowed to the firepower of Chris Itodo, losing (6)8-9 after a tie break.
Pre-tournament favourite in the boys’ U-16, Sylvester Emmanuel justified his rating by defeating Michael Amos, 9-2 to win the category.