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2018 CBN Senior Open: Five Players to Watch Out For

The main draws of the CBN Open will serve off on Monday, 25 June through to Saturday, 30 June at the Tennis Complex of the National Stadium in Abuja.

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As all attention turns to the 40th edition of the CBN Senior Open, we round up five players who are sure to captivate us with their performances.

Joseph Imeh

If this rundown was done accordingly, the Akwa Ibom native would still be the first on the list to watch out for.

Imeh, who turned 21 last month, was a force to reckon with in 2017. He clinched the Rainoil/Ikoyi Club 1938 Masters title and finished as runner-up in all national tournaments, including the NCC Tennis League (Imeh didn’t lose a match for Team Muller in the league until the final).

Someway, the star player always fell short in those finals, including the CBN Senior Open where he was beaten by veteran, Abdulmumin Babalola. His performances all year, however, saw him top the rankings list as he finished the year as the country’s number one player.

Imeh is in Kenya at the moment representing Nigeria in the Davis Cup, but will be back in time to lead a packed field in Abuja.

Best believe, nobody will be surprised if he walks away with the title.

Abdulmumin Babalola

The ageless veteran, Babalola that is! The 33-year-old is the CBN Open’s most successful male player in the last decade, having racked up four titles in nine years. He’s the defending champion and with his vast experience, the lefthander could very well be a nightmare for most of the youngsters when the tournament kicks off.

Certainly one to look out for as he would surely, love to make a good boast of his title defense.

Sarah Adegoke

Save the Dala Hard Court Championship in Kano where she lost to Blessing Samuel in the final, Sarah Adegoke triumphed in every national tournament she played in last year. At the NCC Tennis League, also, Adegoke didn’t lose a single match. For all her exploits, she was adjudged the best female player of 2017.

Fair to say, the 20-year-old has become the most dreaded female tennis player in the country. She enters the CBN Senior Open as the defending champion and overwhelming favourite.

Be sure to watch her make light work of a packed field again.

Thomas Otu

Death, Taxes, and Thomas Otu’s flair – the three certainties in life.

Thomas ‘Star Boy’ Otu, plays with wondrous elan. Whether he is in control of a match or struggling to gain control, the 24-year-old is sure to thrill the crowd with rhythmic grunts in a way only he can.

A shrewd player, Otu did not lose a single match throughout the group stage of the NCC Tennis League last year. He closed his 2017 season on a high as he clinched the Dala Hard Court title in Kano in November and finished as a semifinalist at the Rainoil Open in December.

At the ITF Futures in Abuja this year, Thomas Otu was the only Nigerian player to reach the Round of 16 in the three-week Futures event. A fine competitor, he’s one of the very top players to watch out for.

Sylvester Emmanuel

This is a player no opponent can overlook and all eyes will certainly be on the Barcelona-based 20-year-old. Emmanuel, fondly called Major, is the only player on this list who didn’t lift a title in the country last year as he spent most time plying his trade abroad. He’s in Kenya now, alongside Joseph Imeh, representing Nigeria in the Davis Cup and could return to Abuja to feature in the championship event.

Will Emmanuel’s exposure come to the fore as he bids to lift a title next week? Watch and see!

The CBN Senior Open is a N10 million tournament, with men’s and women’s singles winners pocketing N700,000 each, while the runners-up of the two categories will get N500,000 each.

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