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Oparaoji, Edwards emerge Abuja Tennis Cup champions

By Fidelis Ebu, Abuja
03 January 2022   |   3:06 am
Oparaoji Uche and Marylove Edwards started 2022 with victory, as they emerged men and ladies champions of the maiden Top 8 Abuja Tennis Cup decided at the weekend at the Centre Court of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Oparaoji Uche and Marylove Edwards started 2022 with victory, as they emerged men and ladies champions of the maiden Top 8 Abuja Tennis Cup decided at the weekend at the Centre Court of Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja.

Oparaoji, who is currently ranked national number one, whipped Henry Atseye in two straight sets 6-2, 6-2 for the title.

In his first serve of the final match, Atseye fired an ace, which gave the impression that he was ready to subdue his opponent. Though, he has big service as his weapon, he could not cope with Oparaoji’s series of volley and cross court shots that saw the latter churning up points thus breaking with ease to end the encounter in two straight sets.

“It was hard training and determination that earned me the victory,” Oparaoji said. “I have been battling with injury that denied me the Rainoil title. But I have overcome the injury, and I put in my all in training.

“Being ranked number one is a hot seat and very challenging, which I must work hard to sustain. I am looking forward to representing the country in major international assignment,” said the left handed Uche Oparaoji after collecting his coveted trophy.

While responding to questions, Oparaoji dismissed Atseye’s big service as no threat.

“I know him (Henry Atseye) as a player with big service, and I have the antidote to it. The ace he served was an error on the line umpire,” Oparaoji stated.

The champion had seen off hard fighting Wilson Igbinovia 7-6 (4), 6-4 in the semifinal; the match Oparaoji said forced him to consult his wealth of experience.

“My semifinal match was tough I must confess, but I survived it”.

In the ladies final, Marylove Edwards subdued Jummai Mohammed 6-1, 6-2 and said she needs to work hard to improve on her ITF points from her current 200 position.

The hard-hitting Marylove is aiming to join the women’s tennis association, WTA ranks this year.

Kenneth Ezaga, the manager of Tennis Management Company Limited, which put in place the tournament, said the National Top 8 would be a main feature in the Nigeria Tennis Federation programme.

He said the final of Abuja Tennis Cup could not feature before Saturday, January 1, 2022 owing to logistics.

“We are considering November this year for the second edition of this Abuja Tennis Cup tournament.

“This Top 8 would be a tournament determined players will want to feature. Both the men and ladies would struggle hard to belong to this elite group, and this would result in the development of the game,” Ezaga said.