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Ibrahim, Ekpeyong win again, Ameh stumbles


Table tennis

Top seed of the Girls 16 event, Rebecca Ekpenyong won a testy and decisive round-robin match against Oiza Yakubu yesterday to effectively secure her place in the semifinals of the 2019 CBN Junior Championship.

The match that attracted the attention of Nigerian junior tennis followers, who took advantage of the May Day holidays to attend the event, was pitting the current Girls 16 champion against an opponent just back from the African Girls 14 Championship in Togo and it lived up to its billing.

Ekpenyong, from Akwa Ibom, took the first set 10-3, but fell behind 3-9 in the second set. A surge of four straight points was aborted by Yakubu, who hit a strong forehand winner down the line to win the set.

Yakubu then led 4-5 in the final set with parents of both players screaming encouragement to their daughters.

However, it was the champion, who peeled off to 9-5, conceding two of the four match points to win 10-3, 7-10, 10-7.

The number three seed in the Boys 16 event, Suleiman Ibrahim from Abuja also faced some scary moments as Michael Akinmusere from Oyo State took the first set 12-10 and had the final set tiebreak decider locked at 8-8 before Suleiman showed some superior mental toughness to win 10-12, 10-6, 10-8.

The fourth seed in the boys 16, Sunday Ameh of Lagos is in danger of losing out of a semifinal place as he lost his second round robin match to Joshua Maxwell from Rivers State 10-5, 4-10, 11-9.

The final set of round-robin matches to determine semifinal places will hold today followed by semifinal matches on tomorrow – all at the National Stadium tennis centre starting at 10.00 a.m.

The grand finale will, however, hold at the prestigious Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan on Saturday.

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