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ZENITH BANK NEXT GEN MASTERS: MUSA MOHAMMED AND OMOLAYO BAMIDELE EMERGE CHAMPIONS

Musa Mohammed from Abuja and Omolayo Bamidele from Ekiti State have emerged
champions of the second edition of the Zenith Bank/ Next – Gen Tennis Masters which
held at the National Stadium Surulere Tennis Centre.
Several hundred spectators sat out a four hour rain delay in anticipation of an upset
victory by the unseeded Emmanuel Jebutu who had upset the No.1 seed and
tournament favourite, Philip Abayomi, 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 in the semifinals.
However, Jebutu who was without a doubt the revelation of the tournament, fell short as
19 year-old Musa, the second seed, came from a set behind to win 2-6, 6-4, 10-6.
The Abuja based Musa, who was given a wild card to play in the ITF World Tour event
in Abuja in March, was totally handcuffed by his younger but roundly talented opponent
and had to fall back on his experience to play a more consistent and patient game to
win.
Bamidele had no such challenge in the girls' finals, as she swept away Favour Moses 6-
0, 6-4 to win her first Masters title. The girls' final was a huge anticlimax, as the two
semifinals the previous day had been outstanding, nerve racking performances.
Bamidele recovered from being down 3-9 in the 10 point match tie break to beat Jumai
Mohammed 14-12 in the finals set, saving nine match points along the way while
Mohammed failed to convert 11. In the other semifinal, Moses who held two match
points at 9-7 saw herself face a match point at 9-10 but rallied to win 12-10.
"It was a hugely entertaining tournament," said Godwin Kienka, director of the
International Tennis Academy, organisers of the Masters event. "Every player in the
tournament, boys and girls, thoroughly justified their selection and we hope they will
take over the seniors in no distant future. The ITA Junior Circuit with our partners is
offering a bonus sum of N500, 000 to any 2019 Masters player who wins the CBN
Senior singles event." Kienka said.
Mr Lanre Oladimeji, Head, Retail Banking, Zenith Bank Plc, sponsors of the tournament
said he was highly impressed with the very high standard displayed by the players. "As
a tennis player myself I can say with some confidence that if a very young talent like
Jebutu is nurtured along with the others, we shall have Nigerian players in the Grand
Slams in a few years.
All the Masters players went home with very attractive prizes and equipment.
In 2018, Philip Abayomi won the boys’ category and was voted the most outstanding
junior in the NCC Senior Tennis League. Now ranked top 30 in the seniors, he lost in
the semifinals this year. Oyin Quadri won the girls’ category last year and went on to win
the National Sports festival. She is now in Morocco at the Intl Tennis Fed Academy
preparing for a pro-career. She is playing in the CBN Senior Championship holding from
June 20 to 29 and is expected to win.

About Younews Ng

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