Nigeria’s Sylvester Emmanuel has been knocked out of the second leg of the Governor’s Cup following a 6-4 6-4 loss to Spanish top seed, Enrique Lopez-Perez.
There was not very much between the two players in the hour and 20-minute contest, but Lopez-Perez showed all his experience in playing the big points better, converting the two break points that came his way, while saving all four against his serve.
The Spaniard broke in the first game of the match, and he protected his serve with relative ease for the rest of the first set, sealing it with an overhead smash after 32 minutes.
Lopez-Perez’s serve was put under more pressure in the second set as Emmanuel began to return a lot better.
Emmanuel held strongly to start the set, and then carved out his first break points of the match in Lopez-Perez’s opening service game.
The top seed however found some big serves to stave off two break points and get out of trouble.
The decisive moment of the set came in the fifth game, when Emmanuel sent down an ill-timed double fault to gift his opponent the 3-2 lead.
The Nigerian had 15-40 on the Lopez-Perez serve in the next game, and 0-30 when his opponent served for the match, but the Spaniard had perfected the art of raising his game in adversity, fending off Emmanuel’s advances to claim victory on his second match point.
Despite the loss, Emmanuel yet again showed all the characteristics that make many believe he could go on to be something really special.
With a big serve and good athleticism, and a very strong character, the Nigerian stayed with Lopez-Perez all through the contest, but he was left to rue his inability to make the big moments count.
Emmanuel’s exit completed a disappointing day for the home players, with all five Nigerians in Wednesday’s second round action crashing out of the tournament.
Clifford Enosoregbe retired hurt while 6-3 4-0 down against Tunisia’s Moez Echargui; Joseph Imeh Ubon crashed to a 6-3 6-2 loss to Dutchman, Boy Westerhof; Thomas Out suffered a 6-2 6-2 defeat to Poland’s Maciej Smola, while Mohammed Mohammed fell 6-2 6-0 to India’s Sasi Kumar Mukund.