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Blessing Samuel powers past Sarah Adegoke to clinch fifth Dala Hard Court title

Blessing Samuel produced a commanding display to beat Sarah Adegoke 6-3, 7-6(4) and successfully defend her Dala Hard Court title at the Kano Club in Kano on Friday.

After breezing through the first set, Samuel was made to work hard in the second by Adegoke before she came through 7-4 in the tiebreaker, capping off a brilliant week and possibly, a sensational season of tennis on home soil.

Samuel, who’s now clinched an astonishing fifth Dala Hard Court title, has had a fine year. The 27-year-old, bar the CBN Open in June, triumphed in all national tournaments this season — racking up titles at the Vemp Open in Abuja, the Rainoil Open in Lagos and now, in Kano.

Adegoke, going into the match, looked confident in her bid to avenge last year’s loss in the final after her fine displays all week. But the 21-year-old started off on the wrong foot, gifting Samuel the decisive break to lose the first set- her first set loss of the tournament. However, she brushed aside the disappointment in the second to produce a better performance, pushing Samuel and well-matching her in firepower in an attempt to draw level. But her nerves betrayed her in the tiebreaker as she succumbed to a second straight final defeat in the ancient city.

While Adegoke pockets N300,000 for her week’s effort, Samuel will leave Kano with N600,000 in winnings, and knows she is now one title away from equalling Fatima Abinu’s record of six titles won at this event.

Meanwhile, in the doubles final, Joseph Imeh and Christian Paul came from a set down to beat the duo of Henry Atseye and Nonso Madueke 4-6, 6-3, 11-9.

Imeh and Paul trailed after the first set, the first time both men will drop a set this week. They however, responded brilliantly, stinging back into action in the second set to level the match and force a deciding set. The decider boiled down to who could keep their nerves in check better, and it was Imeh and Paul who prevailed to clinch the title, bringing up a worthy climax to a thoroughly impressive week of doubles action.

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