By Victor Okoye
Number one seeds Joseph Imeh and Albert Bikom on Thursday advanced to the second round of the CBN Senior Open Tennis Championship in Abuja.
The pair comfortably overcame Paul Emmanuel and Ojo Oyelami 6-0 6-4 to set up a round of 16 showdown with the highly rated duo of Thomas Otu and Tosho Yusuf for a place in the quarter-finals.
Imeh alongside his long standing partner Bikom were ruthless as they look to continue from where they left off at the just concluded DavNotch Tennis Open Championship.
“We are in this competition to defend our title and nothing short of the title is good enough.
“We are glad to have started on a bright note and hope we can continue to build on our success with each game,” a delighted Bikom said after the game.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the duo emerged winners of the men’s doubles event after defeating the pair of Babalola Abdulmumuni and Shehu Lawal, who had dominated the event for a very long period of time.
They beat them in two straight sets 6-3, 6-4 to put an end to their opponent’s 15th title winning run.
Babalola and Shehu also advanced to the second round of the CBN championship after battling past the pair of Sylvanus Ajang and Emmanuel Sunday.
They produced a composed display as they progressed to the round of 16 with a gutsy 7-6 (5) 7-6 (7) win in a tie-break decider.
They will now lock horns with the pair of Andrew Idoko and Musa Ndagana for a place in the quarter-finals as the possibility of the duo crossing paths with the number one seeds again looms.
“We are optimistic that we can bounce back after our heartbreaking defeat in the final of the DavNotch tournament.
“We have put that behind us now and are focused on getting it right this time and taking it one step at a time.
“Hopefully we can stay fresh and injury free so as to stand another chance at reaching the finals and challenging for the title once again,” Babalola told NAN after the game.
Idoko and Ndagana had earlier progressed to the second round after their opponents Tosin Akinwumi and Braimoh Musa were forced to retire at 6-3, 1-0 due to fatigue.
Results of other first round men’s doubles matches played on Thursday saw the pair of Abel Enosoregbe and Linus Paul defeat Sani Adamu and Michael Osewa 2-0 (7-5, 6-4) to advance to the second round.
They will next take on the duo of Philip Abayomi and Tochukwu Ezeh in the round of 16, who had also earlier comeback from a set down to overcome the pair of Henry Atseye and Nonso Madueke 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (8).
Oche Adehi and Musa Mohammed were 2-0 (6-4,6-1) winners over wild cards David Ekpenyong and Wilson Igbnovia and will next take on the pair of Michael Ambrose and Anthony Leo for a place in the quarter-finals.
Ambrose and Leo had earlier advanced to the second round after their opponents Musa Bala and Kesiye Maxwell retired at the start of the third set at 6-1, 5-7,1-0.
Tournament’s wild cards Candice Abua and Michael Ikechukwu created an upset as they knocked out the pair of highly rated Samson Adewale and Ikechukwu Michael in two straight sets 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round.
They will next play Timibra Godsgift and David John for a place in the quarter-finals after the pair defeated Isaac Attah and Abdulkareem Badmus 2-0 (6-3, 6-0).
The championship which served off on Monday is expected to end on Saturday. (NAN)