Defending champion Henry Atseye Thursday moved to the semifinals of the 2nd Rainoil Tennis Championship in Lagos after a 6-7 (1), 7-6 (6), 6-3 win over Abdulmumin Babalola.
A marathon match on Court 5 at Ikoyi Club saw the vastly experienced Babalola took the opening set on a tie break but Atseye, who also dumped Babalola out of the tournament last year, took the second set in an identical fashion to set up a tense decider which he won 6-3 in a match that lasted over three hours.
Atseye is joined in the last four by the duo of Joseph Imeh and Sylvester Emmanuel; the top two seeds got the better of their duels with Emmanuel Idoko 7-6 (7, 4-6, 6-3 and Ikechukwu Iloputa 6-1, 6-2.
Uche Oparaoji completes the final four as he triumphed 6-3, 6-1 over Albert Bikom.
In the women’s singles, youngster Oiza Yakubu’s fairy tale run came to an end as she was defeated by Christie Agugbom 6-1, 6-2.
The 13-year-old left-handed player justified her wild card by defeating the veteran Omotayo Ibrahim Osewa in the first round before adding eighth seed Oluchi Ozurumba to her casualty list.
Top seed and defending champion Sarah Adegoke also advanced with a commanding 6-1, 6-1 win over Bunmi Are and the semifinal places are completed by second seed and 2017 finalist, Blessing Samuel who bested Ronke Akingbade in a fierce match with a 7-5, 7-5 score while Aanu Aiyegbusi came out tops of her duel with Patience Onebamhoin 6-4, 6-1.
The semifinal comes up on Friday with Atseye facing Imeh while Emmanuel and Oparaoji face off in the men’s singles while the women’s matches will see Adegoke battles Agugbom and Samuel confronts Aiyegbusi .
In the men’s doubles, Babalola and Bikom put behind their singles defeat to seal a semifinal place at the expense of defending champions Atseye and Nonso Madueke