Main Draws action at the Tombim Abuja Open is set to kick off on Monday, 6 April. And while the world prepares to get thrilled, we’ve made a list of the top five foreign players to watch out for.
1. Markus Eriksson
Sweden’s Eriksson comes to Nigeria for the very first time in his search for glory. Ranked 313 in the world, the 28-year-old comes into the Tombim Open as the tournament’s top seed.
Fresh off from representing his country, Sweden in the Davis Cup, Eriksson seems to be in top shape heading into the new week. He’s however, yet to claim a title this year despite having played in six tournaments, four of those in Egypt. He would certainly be looking for some sort of redemption in Abuja. The Swede has 3 singles ITF titles and 11 doubles ITF titles to his name. He’s definitely one to watch.
2. Kento Takeuchi
The 30-year-old Japanese is no stranger to playing Futures in Nigeria. In 2012 at the Lagos Governor’s Cup, Takeuchi ran riot against Nigerian players, ousting John Otu, Henry Atseye, and Shehu Lawal in both legs of the Futures event. He would fall out to eventual champion Enrique Lopez-Perez. In a Futures event in Syria, he once beat another Nigerian, Candy Idoko.
He’s back to Nigeria, this time, Abuja, and having also played in six tournaments this year, three of which were Challengers, the world no. 486 would go all out in search for his first title this year. His possible determination and mindset could see him go far.
3. Takanyi Garanganga
The Zimbabwean loves to play in Nigeria. Garanganga has featured consistently in ITF Futures event in the country for the past three years. In 2015, at the Governor’s Cup Lagos, he beat Christopher Anefu Edwards and Joseph Imeh en route to the final before losing to Antal Van Der Duim. In 2016, he lost out to eventual champion, Mohamed Safwat in both legs of the ITF Futures in Abuja.
Last year, he beat Joseph Imeh in the Round of 32 of the inaugural edition of the GSL Open before falling short to Pedja Kristin in the quarterfinals. He had also fallen out in the quarterfinals of the Dayak Tennis Championship, but did quite well in the Tombim Open as he reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champion, Brayden Schnur of Canada.
The 27-year-old has played in two Challenger events this year and has also represented his country in the Davis Cup. He would definitely be one to have a good outing and maybe, better his past campaigns.
4. Remi Boutillier
France’s Boutillier is in top shape coming into the Tombim Abuja Open. The 28-year-old has played in eight Futures and three Challenger events already this year and scooped a doubles title in Germany. In May 2015, Boutillier achieved a career high singles ranking of 235, which is the highest of any player participating in the tournament. Currently ranked 622, the Frenchman would be gunning to make a statement at the Tombim Abuja Open. Certainly, one to watch out for!
5. Tom Jomby
Frenchman Tom Jomby has already picked up a futures title in Egypt this year. He had an impressive run in another futures event in the North African nation, where he reached the semifinals, and, only today, Saturday, partnered with Mick Lescure to win the doubles titles of the same event. Scintillating form, I tell you!
He was in Nigeria last year at the 17th edition of the Governor’s Cup Lagos, where he lost to his countryman and eventual finalist Johan Sebastien Tatlot. He also lost in the doubles of the same event. He reached the quarterfinals of the singles and doubles event in the 2nd leg before bowing out.
Ranked 522 in the world, he’s now in Abuja; and given his recent exploits, you’d have to be extremely brave to bet against him stamping his authority in the country’s capital.
The Tombim Abuja Open will kickoff on Monday, 16 April through to Sunday, 22 April.