Both ranked as the number one male and female players in Nigeria, Joseph Imeh and Sarah Adegoke were unable to get to grips with their respective opponents in the first round of the Lagos Open on Monday.
Sarah Adegoke, 21, who played the earlier match on court 2, was beaten 6-2, 7-6(3) by Zoe Kruger of South Africa.
Adegoke handed Kruger a break midway through the first set when she failed to hold serve in the sixth game, double faulting twice to gift the 16-year-old South African a 4-2 lead. The next two games would also belong to her as she closed out the set quite impressively.
In the second set, it was Adegoke who found the breakthrough early. She broke Kruger to get a 2-1 lead and then held to love to go 3-1 up. She, however, failed to build on that lead as the South African crawled back to level up. The set would go to a tie-break and it was Kruger who came out stronger to advance to the second round of the Lagos Open for the second straight year.
Kruger will next face either Alexander Riley of USA or seventh-seeded Slovak Tereza Mihalikova for a place in the quarterfinals.
Elsewhere, Mexico’s Maria Martinez came out on top in a first round thriller, outlasting Fiona Codino of France 7-5, 3-6, 7-5 in two and half hours of gripping tennis on Court 8.
In the men’s bracket, qualifier, Arnaud Sewanou rallied from a set down to beat Joseph Imeh 6-7, 6-3, 6-2 and advance to the second round in what is his first ever ITF Pro Circuit tournament.
Imeh had shown sublime composure to take a 5-2 lead in the opening set, but Sewanou pulled him back and guided the set into a tiebreak, which Imeh won. But the second set would be dour for the Nigerian as he owned 5 double faults and then capped off a poor second set showing by running out of steam in the final set as he handed the 16-year-old Beninese his biggest victory this year in 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Sewanou will next face Danylo Kalenichenko, who eased past John Lock of Zimbabwe 6-1, 6-3.
In the other match played, Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech defeated Joel Cannell of Great Britain 6-4, 6-1 to advance.