Nigerian players at the ongoing Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship are facing different fortunes already.
The first leg of the $100,000 tournament kicked off in Lagos on Monday, October 10, with about 16 Nigerian players making it to the Main Draw of the ITF-certified event.
But of the 13 who played on Monday, only four of them made it to the second round which is where their real strength will be tested.
|Clifford Enosoregbe opened the floodgates of win for Nigerian players in the morning.|
Clifford Enosoregbe started the tournament with an outright 6-3, 6-2 defeat of a Benenoise, Delmas N’tcha, while another former national champion, Henry Atseye was responsible for the scalp of a fellow Nigerian, Joseph Imeh with a hard earned 7-5, 6-4 win.
In other wins for the Nigerian contingent, Edward Christopher Anefu beat Mohammed Mohammed 6-1, 6-2 while Sylvester Emmanuel, Nigeria’s budding tennis star dismissed fellow Nigerian star, Iloputa Ikechukwu in a 6-1, 6-3 win.
Nigeria’s Christian Paul, the first local star to be assured of a place in the Main Draw, was beaten by eight seed, Maciej Smola from Poland 6-4, 6-3 in a match which he was said to have played very well.
Christian expressed his disappointment after losing the match as he claimed that although his opponent was good, it was his (Smola) day as he had a really good day on the court.
“I lost, not because I did not play very well, but because it was his day on the court. He played really well and deserved to win the game.
“I will correct my mistakes and ensure that I get better in the doubles for the first leg. I’ll work really hard to get to the next round in the second leg of the singles,” a disappointed Paul told our correspondent after the match on Monday.
Coach Abe Babatunde, the player’s coach also shared his ward’s sentiment, stating that he lost to “indiscipline, anxiety. But he played really well and did not deserve to lose in the manner which he did.”
Michael Moses, Nigeria’s current number one player, will be playing against Hemery Calvin on Tuesday, October 11, and has promised to do his best when he comes up against the number two seed in the tournament.
Atseye was also grateful to his Coach, Ifeanyi Onyenwenu, whose advise and counsel were helpful in the course of the match.
“Even though I played a fellow Nigerian, the intensity of Governor’s Cup is always different. My Coach’s advice really helped me.
“Reason I could do this well was because I listened to his instructions and the things he warned be about before the match,” he said.
Naija Tennis Special will bring other updates your way later in the day.