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Ekpeyong defies rankings to win Chevron Junior Masters girls 16 title



Rebecca Ekpeyong at the weekend showed that her feats at the just concluded Chevron Junior Masters Invitational Tournament was no fluke when she defeated Omolayo Bamidele to win the girls 16 title at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.

Ekpeyong from the South South Zone had in the semifinal beaten better-ranked Omolade Aderemi from the South West 9-8 in an energy sapping encounter, but against the number one seed, Bamidele in the final, she played with such maturity that her victory looked easy and enchanting.

The 16-year-old Ekpeyong raced off the blocks with nine straight points in the first match tie-break set before her opponent could win one.

Although Bamidele from the South West tried to fight back in the second set, she met a brick wall in Ekpeyong’s confident hitting and smart placement.

The Port Harcourt-based girl won 10-1, 10-4 to the delight of a teary-eyed father, Peter, who ran to the court to embrace his daughter. She also won the trophy for the most outstanding player of the tournament.

The boys’ and girls’ 12s and the girls’ 16s matches were abbreviated to three match tie-break sets to allow all finalists display their skills for the benefit of the sponsors.

David Dawariye, also from the South South, who did not lose a match in the round robin playoffs, also had an easy 9-3 pro set victory over Daniel Adeleye from the South West in the boys’ 16s final.

In the boys’ 12 final, Seun “Nadal” Ogunsakin, displaying the dressing and mannerisms of his Spanish hero, started nervously losing the first three points but later found his rhythm to overcome Mohammed Idris from the Abuja programme 10 -5, 11 -9.

Speaking at the prize giving ceremony, Chevron Nigeria’s Managing Director, Jeff Ewing said his firm was happy to see the impact of their investment in the Nigerian youth and the amazing talent that were on display at the finals.

Mr. Ewing, who was represented by Sanjay Narasimhali, also commended the International Tennis Academy for a well run programme.

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