15-year-old Oyinlomo Quadre, on Friday, advanced to the final of the U-18 ITF Grade 4 tourney in Cotonou at the expense of Gauri Bhagia of India, who retired in the second set due to injury while she was leading 6-3, 5-5.
It is Quadre’s third final in less than a month and she breezed into this one in exceptional fashion. In the first round, the phenomenal Nigerian outclassed Grace Tomegah of Ghana 6-1, 6-1 and then shattered Beninese hearts by soundly defeating home hopeful, Bissola Lassissi 6-1, 6-1 to set up a quarterfinal clash against another Beninese Carmine Becoude.
While Becoude did well to match Quadre’s shrewdness in the first set, the second set left her scrambling for answers as Quadre dished out a bagel to claim a 7-6, 6-0 victory and reach the semis.
In the semis on Friday, Quadre, for the first time in the tournament, failed to find the early initiative and that led to an opening set loss against India’s Gauri Bhagia. Both women, however, matched each other evenly in the second set and were driving the set towards a tiebreaker before the 16-year-old Indian withdrew while she leading 6-3, 5-5, bringing Quadre to within one match of a second straight title and third in a month.
Quadre will now square off against Denmark’s Divine Nweke in the final for the second straight week. Nweke, who’s obviously of Nigerian descent, has equally been sublime all week.
The 14-year-old Dane was only really troubled by Cameroon’s Anna Lemongo in the quarterfinal where she had to recover from a first set loss and spiritedly power to victory. After receiving a first round bye, the second seed made light work of her second round match to win 6-2, 6-0 against Serena Geli of Togo and replicated quite the same performance in the semifinals to dismiss Vania Dotse 6-1, 6-0.
Quadre and Nweke have met just once, with Quadre leading the head-to-head 1-0. The win came in the final of the U-18 ITF Junior Circuit event in Lome last week where Quadre claimed a 6-2, 7-6(5) victory.
Will Quadre outlast Nweke again and claim her second title on the bounce, or will the Dane exact revenge and clinch her first singles title of the season?
The final match is live from the Tennis Clud de l’Amitie Stade Kouhounou, Cotonou on Saturday, 22 September from 10:00am WAT.