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Sylvester Emmanuel heads into 2019 season atop NTF rankings

The 20-year-old is currently ranked number one in Nigeria

Nigerian sensation, Sylvester Emmanuel ended the 2018 season as the top ranked player in the country after his stunning exploits on the national scene.

Emmanuel ended a 19-month title drought at the 40th edition of the CBN Open in Abuja in July, where he made a remarkable run to the final before sensationally edging Abdulmumin Babalola in an epic three-sets thriller.

Emmanuel poses with his winner’s trophy.

He would go on to clinch back-to-back national titles at the Vemp Open in Abuja in September, beating Joseph Imeh in the final – notably remembered for a stunning fightback in the first set where he rallied from 2-5 down in the opener to clinch the set and then power to victory in straught sets.

The 20-year-old backed that up with a semifinal showing at the Rainoil Open in Lagos and then a runner-up finish at the Dala Hard Court in Kano in November, which was just enough to see him rise to the top of the rankings.

However, a slender five points separates him and second-placed Joseph Imeh, who snapped his losing streak in national finals at the Rainoil Open, where he beat Henry Atseye. He would go on to win the Dala Hard Court title the following week.

34-year-old Abdulmumin Babalola is placed third on the log, with the enigmatic Uche Oparaoji is just a place below on fourth.

2018 Rainoil Open finalist, Henry Atseye is ranked fifth, while Sunday Emmanuel sits in sixth position. Albert Bikom, Emmanuel Idoko, Ikechukwu Iloputa, and Madueke Nonso complete the top 10, respectively.

Meanwhile, Thomas Otu, who was ranked inside the top 5 at the beginning of the 2018 season has dropped to 22nd, seven places below last year’s Nigeria’s Davis Cup team player, Christian Emmanuel who’s ranked 15th.

In the doubles discipline, Abdulmumin Babalola continues to hold on to the top spot, while Joseph Imeh takes second spot. Henry Atseye is in third place, while Nonso Madueke stays fourth.

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