Nigeria’s Melissa Ifidzhen crashed out of the first leg of the 2016 Governor’s Cup after a 7-5 6-2 loss to India’s Prarthana Thombare.
Both ladies had met in last year’s edition, with Thombare sparing the Nigerian just three games in a crushing 6-2 6-1 victory, but Ifidzhen was far more competitive in Monday’s contest, and she was the better player in the opening half of the encounter.
The Russian-born Ifidzhen served for the opening set at 5-4, but she failed to close it out, allowing her Indian opponent back into the set.
The 22-year-old Thombare made the most of that slip up, winning five games on the bounce to take the first set, and open up a 2-0 lead in the second.
Just when it seemed Ifidzhen’s challenge had fizzled out, she mounted a fightback to even out the second set, but that resurgence was short-lived, as Thombare sped through the next four games to complete the victory in an hour and 23 minutes.
Four Nigerian women made it to the main draw, but by the end of the opening day, three had already crashed out, with the other, Aminat Quadri set to play on Tuesday.
Christie Agugbom barely troubled Sweden’s Brenda Njuki in a 6-1 6-1 defeat, while Ronke Akingbade provided little resistance in a 6-3 6-1 loss to American, Alexandra Riley.
Top seed, Valentini Grammatikopoulou survived a scare as she recovered from a set down to outlast India’s Kyra Shroff 2-6 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.
The 19-year-old Greek looked out of sorts in the opening set, but she found her range and consistency after that, as Shroff wilted under the Lagos sun.
Grammatikopoulou will take on Thombare in the second round.