Mohammed, Bamidele win Zenith Bank Next Gen tennis tournament
Musa Mohammed from Abuja and Omolayo Bamidele from Ekiti State at the weekend became champions of the Second Zenith Bank Next-Gen Masters held at the National Stadium, Lagos Tennis Centre.
The final games were worth the wait for several 100 spectators, who sat out a four-hour rain delay in anticipation of an upset victory by the unseeded Emmanuel Jebutu.
Jebutu had upset the number one seed and tournament favourite, Philip Abayomi, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the semifinals.
However, Jebutu, who was without a doubt the revelation of the tournament fell short as 19-year-old Musa Mohammed, the second seed, came from a set behind to win 2-6, 6-4, 10-6.
The Abuja based Mohammed, who was given a wild card to play in the ITF World Tour events in Abuja in March, was totally handcuffed by his younger but roundly talented opponent and had to fall back on his experience to play a more consistent and patient game to win.
Bamidele had no such challenge in the girls’ finals as she swept away Favour Moses 6-0, 6-4 to win her first Masters title. The girls’ final was a huge anti-climax as the two semifinals the previous day had been outstanding nerve racking performances.
Bamidele recovered from being down 3-9 in the 10-point match tiebreak to beat Jumai Mohammed 14-12 in the finals set, saving nine match points along the way, while Mohammed failed to convert 11.
In the other semifinal, Moses, who held two match points at 9-7, saw herself face a match point at 9-10 but rallied to win 12-10.
“It was a hugely entertaining tournament,” said Godwin Kienka, director of the International Tennis Academy, organisers of the Masters event.