Fourth seed, Thomas Otu put in a commanding display to stun Joseph Imeh 7-5, 6-4 to win his maiden Dala Hard Court Tennis title in Kano.
Otu surrendered an early 3-1 lead in the first set, as Joseph Imeh crawled back to go 4-3 up, but the youngster couldn’t sustain the lead as Otu rallied back to snatch the first set 7-5.
Both men played with extreme caution in the second set, and neither of them let the rival stay on top for long. But when Otu held serve to go 5-4 up, Imeh lost all composure he had. Otu capitalized on that and… the roars that followed shortly were deafening. Thomas Otu had claimed the title. He couldn’t believe it!
“This is my second time playing in the final in this tournament. I thank God for this year. I have won this competition,” an elated Otu said after his victory.
“The tournament is very tough… All opponents are strong. I really feel good,” he added.
Joseph Imeh, who had a brilliant week but fell short in this final was magnanimous in defeat. Speaking after his final loss, he said, “No regrets cause Thomas Otu is a good player, even though my expectation was to win.”
Joseph Imeh has now lost in two major finals this year; the CBN Senior Championships and the one here in Kano. The 20-year-old now has his NCC Tennis Cup final match with his Team, Muller, to look forward to and would be hoping it’s third time lucky for him.
Thomas Otu, meanwhile, will definitely smile home after taking the N1 million that’s allotted to winners.
NTF president, Engineer Ifedayo Akindoju praised the standard of the competition, noting that the quality was a lot higher that the previous editions.
“The standard is very high”, Akindoju opined. It is better than it was last year and it was well-competed for. The players put in their best and it’s better, much much better than we had last year”.
The NTF chief also revealed that there will be a juniors competition next year, which will hold the week before the main tournament begins.