As players storm the city of Lagos to jostle for $100,000 in prize-money and vital ATP/WTA ranking points in the rebranded Lagos Open, we take a look at five players in the men’s field to watch out for.
1. Tom Jomby
Tom Jomby, currently ranked 428 in the world, will return to Lagos, where he finished as quarterfinalist in 2017, to compete at the Lagos Open as the top seed. Jomby, from France, has won five ITF titles, four of which came in 2015.
This year, good results have been few and far between for the Frenchman. He suffered two consecutive second round defeats in ITF Futures tourneys in Bagnoles-de-l’Orne, France in January and then in the first leg in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in February. The second leg, however, offered redemption as Jomby powered to the final and defeated Hungary’s Piros Zsombor in straight sets to claim his first title in 3 years. Since then, he’s made the semifinals of two other events
The 27-year-old came to Abuja in April to compete at the $45,000 three-week ITF Futures event, but failed to get past the second round. He then moved up the rungs to the Challenger Series, but didn’t achieve much success. In a fortnight, the Frenchman will return to the ITF Pro Circuit, this time, in Lagos as he looks to better his previous performances, justify his top ranking and go in full search of glory.
2. Llyod Glasspool
24-year-old Glasspool will compete at the Lagos Open for the first time when the ITF Pro Circuit event begins. The Brit, currently ranked 463 in the world, has five ITF titles to his name and will seek to increase his trophy haul when he arrives Lagos.
After enduring a slow start to the 2018 season, which includes failing to qualify for Wimbledon in June, Glasspool did just enough to pick up a title in Iowa City in July. He then came very close to securing his second title of the season in Toronto this month, but was drubbed in the final, losing in straight sets. Those recent quality performances will leave the Brit riding a wave of confidence coming into the Lagos Open. You know exactly what a player, who’s brimming with confidence, is capable of…
3. Sylvester Emmanuel
Sylvester Emmanuel has been sensational in national tournaments in Nigeria this year and that has turned him into a force to be reckoned with.
A quarterfinalist in 2016 at the Lagos Open, Emmanuel was forced to withdraw from last year’s edition due to injury.
This month, an ankle discomfort forced him to withdraw midway through the final round of qualifying for the ITF Futures in Monastir, but his performances in the first and second round were refreshing. He is playing freely now – his serve and forehand have improved commendably. And coupled with his tenacity and admirable confidence, the 20-year-old could very well own the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club.
4. Benjamin Lock
A four-time ITF Pro Circuit winner, Zimbabwe’s Benjamin Lock will seek to claim his second ITF title of the season when he comes to Lagos to compete at the Lagos Open for the first time in his career.
The 25-year-old started the 2018 season poorly, suffering six straight defeats. He, however, snapped his losing streak with back-to-back semifinal runs in Sharm El Sheik in March. Two months later, he won his first title defeating compatriot Takanyi Garanganga in the final in Harare. He followed that up with another run to the final two weeks later where he fell to Garanganga.
Quarterfinal runs in Portugal and Taipei have characteriezed the rest of his season til now. Should the 452nd-ranked Zimbabwean build on what he’s achieved this season, then his first time competing in Lagos will definitely be a great one.
5. Danylo Kalenichenko
Five months after competing at the Abuja Futures, Danylo Kalenichenko will return to Nigeria, this time, Lagos, seeking his first honour this year. The Ukrainian’s last ITF title came in Trnava, Slovakia in July, 2017.
This season, the 24-year-old’s best showing have been quarterfinal appearances at the Tombim Abuja Open in April, in Trnava, and then Piestany both in July. Interestingly, the Ukrainian has clinched two ITF titles in his career; one in 2016, another in 2017. Could Lagos be where he claims that of 2018 and end his 15-month title drought?
The Lagos Open is live from the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club on 1 October through to 13 October.