Seventeen-year old David Ekpenyong and MaryLove Edwards on Saturday were the cynosure of all eyes as they emerged winners of the 45th CBN Senior National Open Tennis Championship men and women’s singles event at the Centre Court at Package B of Moshood Abiola National, Abuja.
Page3news.com.ng reports that tournament number two seed, David Ekpenyong captured his first CBN Senior Open title on Saturday in Abuja after his opponent number one seed, Uche Oparaoji was forced to retire with an apparent shoulder injury while trailing 6-1, 4-1.
Oparaoji, playing in the second singles final in the space of three weeks, called for a medical timeout after losing the opening game of the second set before quitting the match midway and admitted in a chat afterwards that he had been nursing shoulder injury right from the onset of the tournament, adding that he kept playing through the pain until he couldn’t hold it any more.
“I tried my best to play and tried very hard to endure the excruciating pain until I couldn’t manage it anymore.
“The doctor advised me to take a two-week break from playing and that’s why I had to retire in the second set,” he said.
Ekpenyong got off to a flying start by winning his opening service game, before the Davnotch Open champion with an early break at 3-1, then wrapped up the opening set.
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.
The 17-year-old Ekpenyong, expressed 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.
“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.
“He beat me at the Dala Hard Court tournament in Kano in November, before I returned the favour at the Rain Oil tournament in Lagos in December.
“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,” said hard-hitting Ekpenyong.
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.
Edwards, had won both the 2023 VEMP Open and DavNotch Tennis Open Championship titles respectively before coming into the CBN Open.
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 a marvellous 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.