Nigerians off to impressive start in U-18 ITF Junior tournament in Cotonou

Nigerian players got their campaign underway in some style on Monday at the U-18 ITF Junior Circuit Grade 4 tournament in Benin Republic. And of all eight Nigerians playing in the main draws of the boy’s and girl’s bracket, seven made it to the second round in Cotonou.

15-year-old Oyinlomo Quadre, who came into Benin on the back of a title triumph in Lome, gave a statement performance as she thrashed Ghana’s Grace Tomegah 6-1, 6-1 to reach the second round. Quadre, who’s chasing a second straight ITF Junior title and third in three weeks, will look to keep up her tremendous form when she takes on home favourite, Bissola Lassissi on Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the boy’s singles, Emmanuel Dim put up a clinic display to soundly defeat home hopeful, Emmanuel Oudensi 6-1, 6-3 and reach the second round of an ITF Junior tournament for only the third time in his fledgling career.

The 14-year-old will now hope to reach the quarterfinals on the Junior Circuit for the first time when he takes on ninth-seeded Indian, Vansh Bhagtani on Tuesday.

On Court 1, 15-year-old Michael Ayoola saw off Turkey’s Cengzi Binici 6-3, 6-3 and will play Patel Aman of India next, while Michael Osewa defeated India’s Chetan Gadiyar in straight sets. The 6-2, 6-3 win will see Osewa square off against Maj Tomac of Slovakia for a place in the quarterfinals.

Also, Emmanuel Jebutu fought back from a set down to beat Samuel Nyamekye 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, while Wilson Igbinovia outclassed Amadou Diarra 6-3, 6-3.

On Court 4, Matthew Abamu edged Ghana’s Aaron Asnate 6-4, 6-3 to set up a crunch second round clash with top seed, Eliakim Coulibaly of Ivory Coast.

In the only upset, 15-year-old Mariam Balogun fell short in her opener as she was beaten by Serena Geli of Togo 6-1, 6-2. Balogun will now turn her attention to the doubles event where she has partnered with Cameroon’s Wamba Nguemo in the chase for glory. The pair will take on the Ghanian duo of Naa Mckorley and Grace Tomegah in the round of 16 on Tuesday.

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