Tombim Abuja Open: Thursday’s Three to Watch

The Tombim Abuja Open is rearing towards its business end with players rolling up their sleeve in readiness for a last four push. It’s Day 4 in Abuja and here’s what to look forward to:

Markuss Eriksson vs Jelle Sels

Top seed Markus Eriksson squares off against fifth-seeded Dutch, Jelle Sels in a crunch quarterfinals clash in Abuja. Eriksson will seek to keep alive his hopes of claiming a first title this year. Although, in all six tournaments the Swede has played in this year, he has made the semifinals on only one occasion – at the ITF Futures in Egypt in March. To remain on course, he will have to set the records straight against Jelle Sels, having lost 2-6, 6-7 to the Dutch last month at an ITF Futures event in Egypt.

Sels came into Abuja on the back of some fine runs on the ITF Circuit in Egypt, before claiming a title in Bahrain. He is strutting his stuff really well here in Abuja and is yet to drop a set. Will he make it two in a row against Eriksson? Or will the Swede get his revenge and stay on course?

Danylo Kalenichenko vs Tukhula Jacobs

Danylo Kalenichenko of Ukraine and Namibia’s Tukhula Jacobs¬†will meet for the first time in their fledgling careers.

Jacobs is playing in the Main Draws of a tournament for the first time this year after failing to qualify for the ITF Futures event in Spain last month. The 23-year-old has however, put together decent performances in Abuja to reach the last eight. Clinical, the Namibian beat third seed Kento Takeuchi 6-3, 6-2 in the first round, before going on to sack Remi Boutillier of France by the same scoreline in the second. Could Kalenichenko suffer same fate?

The Ukrainian has played in four ITF Futures event this year. Before coming into Abuja, he was in Israel, where he made it to the quarterfinals twice before getting dumped out. It’s his third quarterfinal appearance on the trot, can he make a difference? Or will the Namibian make it a third quarterfinal exit in a row for him?

Joao Menezes vs Maximilian Neuchrist

Joao Menezes of Brazil takes on Second seed, Maximilian Neuchrist in a first career meeting between the two.

Aside a solid run where he reached the semifinals in Spain, Joao Menezes hasn’t really done much on the ITF Circuit this year. However, the 21-year-old has shown determination in Abuja. A comfortable 6-1, 6-3 first round win over Spain’s Largo, before holding off Aryan Goveas in a tight three sets match to reach the quarterfinals. Can the seventh seed replicate such performances against the tough Austrian?

Neuchrist is enjoying a good, good start to the year. Although, he hasn’t picked up any titles yet, the 26-year-old made back-to-back finals- in Great Britain and Italy, and then impressive runs to the semis on two occasions. He has brought that form into Abuja as he’s yet to drop a set and, it’ll be hard betting against him not having it easy against the Brazilian.

Order of Play

Markus Eriksson will take on Jelle Sels by 10am Nigerian time on Court 1.

Stephan Gerritsen of the Netherlands will play Frenchman Jaimee Floyd Angele not before 11am on Court 1, while the duo of Aryan Goveas and Karunuday Singh take on Markus Eriksson and Maximilian Neuchrist in the doubles, not before 2pm still on Court 1.

Joao Menezes and Maximilian Neuchrist will open play on Centre Court by 10am, while Danylo Kalenichenko and Tukhula Jacobs lock horns not before 11am on Centre Court.

The duo of Alexis Klegou and Thomas Setodji and French pair, Remi Boutllier and Tom Jomby will complete play on Centre Court when they meet in their semifinals doubles match not before 2pm Nigerian Time.


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