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Vemp Open: Sylvester Emmanuel beats Babalola to set up final showdown with Joseph Imeh

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Sylvester Emmanuel, 20, claimed his second win over veteran Abdulmumin Babalola this year, with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 victory to reach the final of the Vemp Open Tennis Championship in Abuja on Friday.

Emmanuel, who defeated Babalola in the finals of the CBN Senior Open in June, put up a commanding display to take the first set. He, however, fell behind early on in the second as Babalola clinically subdued him to race to a 4-0 lead. Emmanuel would stage a comeback but Babalola held firm to force a decider.

The third set was evenly contested for, but it was Emmanuel who prevailed in the tiebreaker to reach his second straight final in Abuja.

Emmanuel, who’s bidding for back-to-back national titles, will face the country’s number one player, Joseph Imeh in Saturday’s final.

Imeh, 20, struggled early on in his match against Sunday Emmanuel. Imeh had not lost a set all week, and it seemed that was going to change after Sunday broke him to go 4-3 up. Imeh, however, found his way back in to claim a 6-4 opening set win. The second set was smooth sail for the 20-year-old as he dismissed Sunday with minimum fuss to score a 6-4, 6-2 victory.

Joseph Imeh in action against Sunday Emmanuel in the semis of the Vemp Open in Abuja on Friday.

Saturday’s final will be the second meeting between Imeh and Sylvester this year, with the latter claiming a straight sets victory in the quarterfinals of the CBN Open in June.

Elsewhere, Nigeria’s number one, Sarah Adegoke missed the chance to reach her sixth consecutive national final as she was beaten 6-4, 7-6(5) by Loveth Donatus.

Loveth Donatus came through against top seed Sarah Adegoke.

Loveth will square off against second seed, Blessing Samuel, who overcame a sluggish start to beat fourth seed, Christie Agugbom 1-6, 6-3, 6-3, for the title.

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