By Onukogu Kanayochuqu Jubal
The main draw of the first week of the 2017 Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship served off on a rather surprising note as top seed and Egypt’s Karim Mohamed-Mamooun crashed out following a 2-6, 2-6 loss to unseeded Dutchman Stephan Fransen.
The Egyptian, who had featured at the previous three Nigeria Futures held in Abuja early this year, was an overwhelming favourite to win the match on Court Three, having rose few places in the past week to hit the top of the ranking for the tournament pushing Turkey’s Cem Ilkel to number two. He had no answer to the aggressive play of the 29-year-old right-handed double hand backhand player.
There was no joy either for the home fans, as some of the country’s top players were also sent packing in the first round of the two-stage $100, 000 prize-money tournament, as Clifford Enosoregbe, who was Nigeria’s best performer in the last edition, lost 3-6, 0-6 to Briton Andrew Watson, while reigning CBN Open champion, Abdulmumini Babalola, also succumbed 0-6, 3-6 to Johan Tatlot of France.
It was the same story for Joseph Imeh, who scratched but came up short against Serbian Ilija Vucic, having lost 1-6 in the first set.
An unmemorable day for Babalola and Enosoregbe was completed on the Lord Rumens’ Centre Court, as they were edged 6-7 (2), 6-7 (4) by fourth-seeded French duo of Tom Jomby and Sebastien Tatlot.
With the early exits of some of the country’s top players, the chances of the country making significant impact in the tournament now rests on the junior players, some of whom are making their debut on the big stage.