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Meet The Finalists At The TPPA-UTR National Junior Tennis Classics

Fourteen finalists have been decided after a week of intense tennis competition at the TPPA-UTR National Junior Tennis Classics in Lagos.

The tournament which gathered players from different parts of the country after they participated in the regionals in 2023, is ending on Saturday, 13 April, 2024, inside the tennis section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.

Participants from different parts of the country fought rigorously for points at the competition, but these finalists have emerged in the boys’ and girls’ youth, U-16, U-14 and U-12. The only category without finalists is the girls’ U-14.

The organizers of the competition informed that due to the number of players registered to play in the age category, they were allowed to all play round robin matches from which winners will be decided based on the number of points they amass at the end of the matches.

Nigeria Tennis Live wants our readers to have a bit of insight into who these players are and where they are from.

READ ALSO: Finalists Emerge As TPPA-UTR Nationals End In Lagos (FULL LIST)

Boys’ U-12:

Adeiza Yakubu (Lagos)
The young and unassuming Yakubu is the youngest sibling of the Yakubu sisters and is unarguably one of the best players in his category and is surely one of the players to watch out for in the nearest future.

He reached the final of U-12 event after breezing past his opponents, the last of which was a serious bashing of Mohammed Okandeji, another promising player from the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, in two straight sets.

All eyes will be on Adeiza as tennis fans and spectators will be looking to see that he continues in the footsteps of his more famous sisters, Ohunene and Oiza.

Emmanuella Kwange UTR

Peter Festus (Ekiti)
Peter wields a very beautiful smile when he’s off the court, but when he’s on the court, there are chances you may never get to see his white pair of teeth. Man is always serious minded.

After winning the regionals in Ibadan in 2023, the youngster had been dreaming of playing in the nationals, and to have won his group convincingly, the Ekiti boy is looking no further downwards, as he wants to win his first ever national title.

Whether he will be able to defeat unyielding Adeiza on the day will determine whether or not he can lift the national trophy on the D-day.

Girls’ U-12:

Mofifunoluwa Atilola (Lagos)
If you take a peep into Mofifun’s trophy cabinet, you will be shocked at how many titles this youngster has won, and she is only 10 years old.

The undisputed Nigerian U-10 champion was odds-on favourite to reach the final of the TPPA-UTR championship finals and her delivery was nothing short of smooth. Buoyed by a massive parental support, Mofifun is unplayable on her day – which often so happens.

Even though she has won a lot of national titles, this will be a lot different for our Lagos girl, as it will add a first-of-its-kind feather to her already busy cap.

Salvation Alex (Abuja)
Salvation, now famously known as ‘the Abuja girl’ will definitely put up a show when she takes to the court for the final match against her more experienced opponent.

Her journey to the final was not one without intrigues and thrills, but she made sure to overcome all the hurdles to reach her first ever national finals, and in a very tough competition as this.

The Abuja-based youngster will ensure that the girls’ final in her category lives up to its billing as one for the future.

Boys’ U-14

Nathaniel Aluko (Lagos)
After showing glimpses of what he is capable of doing at previous tournaments, it looks like it’s now ‘Nathaniel o’clock’. The Lagos Country Club boy may have come of age at the very right time.

With a heavy serve that matches his height, the youngster looks more dangerous after each competition, and his performance at this year’s UTR Nationals is worthy of mention.

In the boys’ U-14 finale, all eyes will be on the young Aluko as he looks set to make history by winning a very important national title. He’s not a small fry, but he’s even about to join a bigger league of the ‘fries’.

Seyi Ogunsakin (Ekiti)
Talk about adaptability to any opponent’s game, this version of the Ogunsakins will probably take you to cloud nine and back.

Seyi is not a newcomer when it comes to tough oppositions and challenges, and in Nathaniel Aluko, he has a worthy opponent on clay, that is.

The Ekiti boy who has played and won many national and international tournaments for Nigeria, is clearly the favourite to win this tie, but Aluko, who is the crowds’ favourite, will definitely have some weapons to unleash. The die is cast for this one.

Mofifunoluwa Atilola

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Roseline Nana Selected To Represent Quebec In Faceoff With Ontario

Girls’ U-14:

Emmanuella Kwange (Niger)
Kwange, whose ascendancy has been a really beautiful growth to watch in recent years. The youngster hasn’t given tennis followers reasons to doubt her ability.

Winning this tournament will most probably cement Kwange’s status as one of the best junior players in Nigeria and put her more in the limelight.

Gloria Samuel (Ekiti)
Cool, calm, dangerous – that’s how best to describe Gloria who has been within the tennis space for a while, yet one of the youngest in the game.

She is up against a formidable opponent in Kwange, and even though she is expected to have the edge, having represented Nigeria at different competitions outside the country, the match will not come easy for her.

The girls’ U-14 match is one of the matches that will certainly have spectators asking for more when game starts.

Boys’ U-16:

David Edwards (Lagos)
Nigeria is clearly blessed with many one-handed backhand players, and David is continuing in the legacy of the now retired legends who wielded this special feat, and he is always so proud and confident to unleash his ‘weapon’ to its full effect.

The younger sibling of Marylove, Nigeria’s number one female player, is definitely one to watch out for when matches serve off later today in what will be a repeat of his round robin match against his opponent from Bayelsa.

More than the points to be won, the match promises to be very entertaining and solid value for good money for the spectators inside the tennis section of the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.

Marvelous Bolarinwa (Niger)
Nothing prepared anybody for the unprecedented way Marvelous reached the final of the TPPA-UTR Nationals in Lagos, but he does deserve it.

The youngster from Minna is not one to be tossed aside in this championship as he fought his way to the final, while defeating Precious Aliya, touted as one of the players to reach the final of the tournament given his run to the semis.

As it stands, Marvelous will have to dig deep to match his opponent who, all other things being equal, is an experienced and dangerous player to come up against.

Fingers crossed!

Girls’ U-16:

Toluwalase Agunbiade (Cross River)
Reaching the final of this national tournament did not come as easily as it may appear, but Tolu made sure it happen, despite the challenges.

The Cross River-based player played some of her best tennis to reach the final in what looks like a period where her tennis finally clicked.

One of the reasons she did justice to her opponents in this competition is how unpredictable she is. She is a really smart player whose decision making is also quick, and her shot selection – per opponent – is very commendable.

Peter Festus

Aina Goodnews (Ekiti)
Aina is another player from Ekiti who knows her onions and takes no chances during her matches. She also looks extremely calm on the ball, but she’s extremely dangerous.

The fact that she is a southpaw player means she can easily hurt her opponents. She is one of the players at this tournament who have represented Nigeria at competitions outside the country and have returned victorious even.

This girls’ U-16 match between an experienced national team player and an unpredictable girl from Cross River State is one to look out for.

READ ALSO: National Tournaments Update: DavNotch, Vemp Open In; CBN OUT!

Boys’ Youth:

Abubakar Yusuf (FCT)
Abu needs no further introduction after his recent rise to represent Nigeria at the African Games in Ghana a few weeks ago.

The Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club player is the number one seed of this competition and the player with the highest UTR rating at the tournament having also won the Lagos leg of the regionals last year.

Asides the initial scare on the first day of the competition, the National Youth Games gold medalist has been clinical in all his matches and deservedly reached the final.

Yahaya Sani Inabo (FCT)
Mambilla Barracks Tennis Club is blessed to have their players in the finals of the major national junior tournament, it’s credit to them and their coaches.

Yahaya is unarguably one of the biggest ‘hustlers’ on court in Nigeria these days. He attacks every ball and has a never say die attitude even when the odds are not going in his favour.

A match against his role model and one of the players he adores will definitely be emotional for Yahaya, but if there is any player who can actually stop Abu from winning the title, it has to be Sani Inabo.

Girls’ Youth:

Khadijat Mohammed (FCT)
Winning the Dala Hard Court national title in Kano last year November was no fluke after all, as this youngster has gone ahead to double down on that with a J30 Abuja ITF event win against one of Nigeria’s best juniors – Ohunene Yakubu.

Her semifinal match against Jesutoyosi was arguably her toughest at the UTR Nationals so far, but it also showed why she’s the female number one seed for this event as she expertly won the competition despite trailing.

Beyond just winning, Khadijat will be in the eyes of spectators as they would be scampering to behold her deadly forehand with which she dispatches her opponents on the court.

Bright Emmanuel (Lagos)
Bright is probably one of the most feared player on the court these days. Watching her play makes one believe she may not have anything up her sleeves, but she grinds results from being consistent on the court.

The Apapa Tennis Club player has been Khadijat’s nemesis in most of their national finals, and the Abuja player mostly does not like playing against her – if she can avoid it.

However, this final has brought them back together and a win here will be a statement win as the pair are likely to transition into senior tennis in the coming years, where their rivalry is expected to continue.



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