Joao Menezes bids to become the first man since Matija Pecotic in 2015 to win back-to-back ITF Futures singles title in Abuja. Pecotic won both legs of the then $15,000 prize-money Tombim Abuja Open in 2015, since then no man has replicated that success.
Menezes, who won the Tombim Open title a week ago in the capital city, has swept through the rounds and is into the final, dropping only a single set in the process- it was to Takanyi Garanganga in their epic 2 hours and 52 minutes quarterfinal thriller. Neuchrist however, stands between the 21-year-old and phenomenal success in Abuja.
Maximilian Neuchrist has equally been sensational all week. The fourth-seeded Austrian is yet to drop a set and was only troubled in the quarterfinals against Aryan Goveas of India- a match he eventually wrapped up 6-3, 7-6(7). In the semifinals against Stephan Gerritsen, the Austrian needed just an hour to cruise through, registering an easy 6-2, 6-1 victory. So easy yet utterly commanding; the way the 27-year-old plays, that is.
The last time these two met- at the quarterfinals of the Tombim Abuja Open last week, Menezes ran out with a 6-4, 6-4 win. That win alongside previous ones and the ones he’s registered at the Dayak Tennis Championship this week, has seen the 21-year-old Brazilian rack up 9 wins in a row.
It’s now left for Neuchrist to get his revenge and clinch his first title of the year. Will he? Or will the Brazilian make it 10 on the trot and claim his second straight title in Abuja?
This match is live today on Centre Court from 3pm at the Tennis Complex of the National Stadium in Abuja.