The sensation of the Zenith Bank ‘Next Generation’ Junior Masters, Philips Abayomi, has been hailed as the “revelation of the tournament” and one of those to look out for in the future.
No sooner had Philip Abayomi overwhelmed Michael Ayoola in the second semifinals of the Zenith Bank ‘Next Generation’ Junior Tennis Masters on Friday at the National Stadium, Lagos, did Uzonna Izugbokwe, the director of Luik Recreation Club,Victoria Island, declare that “A new tennis star is born!”
Abayomi, who had never reached the semi-final of any ITA Junior Circuit tournament because of his erratic power game, appeared to have mastered the art of power-play and improved his backhand to the amazement of his opponents.
The 16-year-old, who kept a clean slate in the round-robin, eliminating Michael Oshewa the national U-18 champion and pre-tournament favourite, took a 5-0 lead before Ayoola got on the score board.Thereafter, both players held serve until the end when Ayoola’s forehand volley into the net gave Abayomi his first tournament finals.
“This is a player to watch,” continued Izugbokwe. “If he can get his backhand to be half as good as his forehand, we should have a world star in our hands,” he added.
Abayomi will meet Port Harcourt-based Godgift Timibra, who won a see-saw battle with Tochukwu Ezeh from the Onitsha Club 9-5.
The girls’ final will be between Oyin Quadri and Toyin Asogba.
Quadre was ruthless in her 9-0 victory over Rebecca Ekpeyong from Port Harcourt, while Asogba weathered a spirited fight-back from Favour Moses, who had trailed 2-5, to win 9-8 with a tie-break decider.
The finals which will feature the girls and boys finals will take place at the same venue, starting 10 am.