Even though all Nigerian players crashed out of the Singles event of the ongoing Tombim ITF Futures in Abuja on Tuesday, the number one ranked player in the country, Joseph Imeh proved his mettle before losing to his more experienced Dutch opponent in the final set.
Both players made it to the main draws through the qualifying stage, thereby having equal chance of progressing to the next phase of the competition; this was obvious with the way they played, but it was Stephan Gerritsen from Netherlands who had the last laugh as he won 6-1, 4-6, 3-6.
|Joseph Imeh was close to making it to the second round before losing in the finals et.|
Imeh will now fancy his chances of making some meaningful impact in the tournament when he plays in the quarter finals of the Doubles event, where fellow Nigerian, Sylvester Emmanuel – who also lost his Singles match – will be playing.
In the other matches played by Nigerian players Sunday Audu was the first local to exit after losing 6-3, 6-0 to Frenchman Remi Boutillier just as his compatriot, Michael Michael, a wild card beneficiary, was overwhelmed by another Frenchman Jaimee Angele 6-2, 6-0 in just about 57 minutes.
Spain-based Sylvester Emmanuel was the last Nigerian in action for the day and he started well by breaking Ronnie Schneider at the start of their match on Centre Court but the no 6 seed American was unstoppable thereafter and bagged a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
Also through to the second round is Croatian Ivan Sabanov, another wild card player, who came from a brink of defeat, to stun Tom Jomby of France 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in a match that lasted two hours.
Sabanov’s brother, Matej, however, was not as lucky as he lost 6-1, 6-1 to Alexis Klegou of Benin Republic.
Namibian Tuki Jacobs, who is also on a wild card, also progressed by beating Kento Takeuchi of Japan 6-3, 6-2 same as Dutch fifth seed, Jelle Sels and Danylo Kalenichenko of Ukraine who defeated Franko Feitt of Argentina and Diego Matos of Brazil 6-4, 6-1 and 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 respectively.