David Ekpeyong and Marylove Edwards on Saturday emerged men and ladies champions respectively of the third edition of the DavNotch Senior National Tennis Open Championships in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that in the men’s singles event, Ekpeyong dismissed Peter Lawal in two straight sets 6-4 6-2 in a surprisingly one-sided encounter.
The number three seed was never troubled as he claimed an emphatic victory from a match that lasted for less than an hour thirty minutes.
Ekpeyong raced into a 3-0 lead before his opponent finally found his footing, and managed to keep the rest of the set on serve.
Lawal sent a forehand wide to give Ekpeyong three set-points and, though he saved the first, an ace from the 19-year-old gave him a deserved one-set lead.
Ekpeyong was immediately on top in the second set, sealing a break in the first game with a backhand pass as Lawal crept to the net.
He then held with ease and brought up another two break-points, Lawal handing him a 3-0 lead as he pulled another forehand wide.
With the number four seed serving at 5-2 down, Ekpeyong brought up three set-points with a pinpoint backhand down the line.
Then, Lawal hacked an overhead wide to hand the set to his opponent.
The hard-hitting Ekpeyong was in a punishing mood as he finally fulfilled his dreams for a first DavNotch title.
“I am very happy to have finally achieved what I always dreamt of, which is to win my first title here,” an excited Ekpeyong told NAN.
“I actually expected it to be tougher than this, but was quite surprised that my opponent gave it to me on a platter of gold.
“I think he was a bit jaded coming into the final, especially after he was forced to work hard against a very resilient Sylvanus Ajang in the semi-finals on Friday.
“For me, I was calm and well rested after another surprise easy running in the semi-finals against number two seed Henry Atseye who retired through injury and I think that gave me quite an edge,” he said.
NAN reports that giant-killer Ajang had been on a fairytale winning run against top opponents in the tournament (including number one seed Uche Oparaoji).
He saved as many as nine break-points as he engaged Lawal in long rallies.
Lawal was however able to survive the onslaught from his opponent to clinch the tie 7-5 6-4 6-4.
He thus ended the number 17 seed’s fairytale run after three hours of a pulsating encounter in the scorching heat.
It was an outing which must have sapped the energy out of him ahead of the final match which came up less than 24 hours later.
In the women’s singles event, Edwards strolled past Ronke Akingbade 6-4 6-0 to defend her title for a second year running.
The hard-hitting number one seed continued from where she left off after she also defended her title at the 3rd Vemp Tennis Championship.
She was quite brutal as she made light work of her opponent who is ranked number 39 in the Nigeria Tennis Federation (NTF) rankings to wrap up the game quite early.
Edwards dismantled her opponent with hard, fast and pinpoint serves which produced countless aces which Akingbade found difficult to deal with.
NAN also reports that in the men’s doubles final, Ekpeyong combined well with number one seed Oparaoji to beat the pair of Musa Mohammed and Lawal Shehu 6-3 6-3.
The duo of Edwards and number two seed Aanu Aiyegbusi defeated Toyin Osogba and Blessing Omotayo 6-4 6-2 to emerge winners of the women’s doubles event.
The third edition of the DavNotch Senior Open Championships which began on Monday ended on Saturday.(NAN)