Tennis: Ekpenyong, Edwards Emerge Winners At 45th CBN Open
By Lekan Sowande, Abuja.
On Saturday evening, David Ekpenyong and MaryLove Edwards emerged winners of the 45th CBN Senior National Open Tennis Championship men and women’s singles event in Abuja.
Tournament number two seed David Ekpenyong captured his first CBN Senior Open title after his opponent number one seed Uche Oparaoji was forced to retire with an apparent shoulder injury while trailing 6-1, 4-1.
Ekpenyong got off to a flying start in the contest by winning his opening service game, before the Davnotch Open champion with an early break at 3-1, then wrapped up the opening set. In the second Oparaoji called for a medical timeout after losing the opening game of the second set before quitting the match midway.
Victory ensured the Vemp Open runner up Ekpenyong, who coincidentally lost to Oparaoji in the final a fortnight ago, won his second title in Abuja following his DavNotch Open triumph. Ekpenyong, 17, told newsmen that it was a sweet victory for him as he avenged his earlier defeat in the final to his fierce rival.
“I am elated and feel very fulfilled having won my first CBN Senior title. It had been my life-long dream to win this title having won the junior U14 category,” Ekpenyong said.
“I come here to participate in this tournament every year and also watch people win the final; I always wished it will be me and here I am now holding the much coveted trophy. My opponent is someone I am very much familiar with having played him four times now.
“I also lost to him at the Vemp Open final here two weeks ago and so besides winning my first CBN title, I was also determined and focused on winning today so as to even our head-to-head record,” he added.
In the women’s singles event, first seed Edwards continued with her ruthless form as she dismissed number two seed Aanu Aiyegbusi 6-2, 6-3 to claim a third straight title in a row in Abuja.
The country’s top ranked female player had won both the 2023 VEMP Open as well as the DavNotch Tennis Open Championship titles respectively in Abuja coming into this tournament.
The number one showed no signs of fatigue as she raced through the first set and then had to come from 3-0 down in the second set to wrap up the match.
In the men’s doubles event, Matthew Abamu and Chima Michael teamed up to defeat the pair of Albert Bikom and Peter Lawal who had to retire 7-5, 4-4 with scores even in the second set.
In the Wheelchair tennis men’s event, Top seed, Alex Adewale, eased past Williams Ukari in an incredible 6-2, 6-2 victory, to claim his 11th consecutive title at the CBN Open.
Meanwhile, Nigeria’s number one female player, Kafayat Omisore claimed the women’s title after a hard-fought 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory against Kemi Oluwasegun.
Elated at the standard of the tournament, the Acting Director, Corporate Communication Department, CBN, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, praised the winners for their doggedness and encouraged losers for displaying the spirit of sportsmanship.
Dr. AbdulMumin promised that the apex bank would remain committed at sustaining the staging of the competition as a way discharging its corporate social responsibility and helping the Nigeria Tennis Federation in discovering hidden talents in the game of Rackets.
“Am happy that new winners emerged in this 45th edition. That’s the beauty of Sports, sometimes you win sometimes you lose,” Dr. AbdulMumin said.
“We shall continue to support the growth of this Sports. We are committed to it.”
The 45th CBN Senior National Open Tennis Championship served off last Monday and came to an end over the weekend.