It was a tough encounter for Nigeria’s Oyinlomo Barakat in her first match at the ongoing ITF U-18 junior championship taking place in Benin Republic, where she had to fight to the last set before overpowering a touch Cameroonian opponent.
According to information reaching Naija Tennis Special, the Nigerian player who is a defending champion at the tournament, had to dig deep to defeat the stubborn Emanuela Eliondo 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 in her first match of the championship and qualify for the quarter final.
Oyinlomo will now play against Bahati Pawani, the number 6 seed from India as she looks set to make it to the semis and win the first leg of the three-legged event.
|Oyinlomo is expected to get better as the tournament progresses.|
Joining the youngster also is Adetayo Adetunji who won her first match, retained her fine form after defeating an Indian player, Manya in two straight sets of 6-1, 6-1.
In his first match also, Christopher Bulus beat his Beninoise counterpart 6-1, 6-0 to stroll into the next phase of the tournament, just like Irish-born Nigerian youngster, Bola Obasoto, who joined the team from his base.
Nigerian players were not so lucky in other matches as Wilson Igbinovia lost to Arnold Sewano from Benin 0-6, 3-6; Ayoola Micheal lost to Adam Mangoudi of Tunisia 0-6, 2-6 and Matthew Abamu lost to Cote D’Ivoire’s Frederick 2-6, 4-6.
|Irish-based Nigerian star, Obasoto, is also in the third round of the championship.|
In other results, Benjamin Odiase fought hard before crashing to a 6-7, 6-2, 0-6 game against Vence Bhagtani from India while Michael Osewa could not withstand the firepower of India’s Patel, losing 2-6, 4-6.
The Nigerians will now focus on bettering their performance at the next phase of the tournament in their quest for gold at the championship.
Although Coach Abel Ubiebi believes that the tournament is a step higher than what was obtainable last year, he still argued in a chat with Naija Tennis Special, that: “the players are fired up as well.
|From L-R: Matthew and Martins Abamu and Christopher Bulus are fired up for this tournament.|
“Oyinlomo’s match was a baptism of fire and it was tough because she used it to get her rhythm. It
also made her realise that she is a player to beat in this tournament.
“She will get stronger as the tournament progresses and show the stuff she and her Nigerian colleagues are truly made of.”