Marylove Edwards, 14 & Under champion of the ITA Junior Tennis Circuit, justified the wild card given to her by the organisers after comprehensively beating Pauline Ebijimi from Niger State ranked No.6 on the Nigeria Tennis Federation list 6-1, 6-0.
Edwards who had been fearless but erratic against former national champion, Blessing Samuel, in her first round robin match appeared to have fine-tuned her strokes and confidently and consistently sent her opponent scampering from side to side with well place double handed topspins.
“I wanted to enjoy myself knowing I had nothing to lose. I am very glad I played very well. I hope I can play as well against Christie Agugbom in the final round robin match,” Edwards said.
When asked by a fan what she would like to have in appreciation of her performance, the little girl in her came out when she screamed, “ice cream”.
|Brave Edwards justified her Wild Card by beating number six ranked player in the country.|
Ebijimi on her part gave kudos to her conqueror admitting, “I could not handle her topspins, especially the wide ones that took me out of the court. This is a challenge for me to work harder.”
The Ikoyi Club Masters features the top eight male and female players on the NTF ranking with the final spot filled with wild cards chosen by the organisers. The performance of Ebijimi who lost by the same score line to Agugbom, in her first match, has cast doubts on the authenticity of the NTF ranking which is derived from the two tournaments – CBN and Dala – the federation has in the year.
Edwards was, however, not the only one who recorded an upset as Blessing Samuel beat Agugbom 7-6, 6-4 to secure a semifinal place.
Also through to the semifinals by virtue of two wins is Sarah Adegoke who beat an injury plagued Aanu Ayegbusi 6-1, 6-1.
Agugbom, Edwards, Ayegbusi and Ronke Akingbade who beat Patience Onebamhoin 7-6, 6-3, are in line for the final two spots with one win each.
In the men’s second round robin matches, Clifford Enosoregbe beat Moses Michael 7-6, 6-4 to lead Group B. Joseph Imeh who regained his alternate position after Nonso Madueke withdrew, beat Shehu Lawal 6-4, 7-6 and stands a chance of progressing if he can overcome Michael in the final round robin match.
Semifinal places from Group A are up in the air as Christian Paul who has won two matches can be denied a semifinal place if he loses to national champion Thomas Otu who has one win and Emmanuel Sunday also with one point beats Babalola Abdulmumuni.
Godwin Kienka who is coordinating the event said: ‘The situation is very interesting and the same rules used for resolving ties by the ATP World Tour would be used to resolve the impending ties.”
The semifinal matches are scheduled for Friday while the men’s and ladies’ finals will hold on Saturday starting 4.00 pm prompt.