21st December, 2010
The 2010 Governorâ€™s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship was the major event that dominated theÂ fourth quarter of the outgoing year.
The Governorâ€™s Cup, which entered its 10th edition this year, was held from 15-30 October at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria.
Local players like Sunday Emmanuel, Abdulmumini Babalola, Omoile Samuel, Nugent Terence, Abinu Fatima, Samuel Blessing, Agugbom Samuel and Anuna BlessingÂ were given wild cards to participate in the Main Draw of the Etisalat/FCMB sponsored tennis tournament.
The first leg of the ITF approved championship was not too rosy for the Nigerians as they were sent out of the competition early in the Main Draw. DefendingÂ champion, Kocuva Zuzana of Slovakia won the Womenâ€™s Singles of the first leg. She beat her French opponent, Natalie Piquion in straight set of 6-2,6-0, whileÂ Isreali Amir Weintraub won the Menâ€™s Singles after he defeated Karan Rastogi from India in a game that ended 6-2, 6-4,7-5.
The local players bounced back to reckoning in the second leg, as the competition witnessed a series of shocking upsets. Unseeded Shehu Lawal created anÂ upset as he defeated Moroccan star, Anas Fattarn, who is ranked number 834 in the world in a game that ended 6-4,4-6, 6-2. Unranked Abdulmumin Babalola beatÂ compatriot Destiny Ford Da Silva, who is ranked number 1520 in straight set of 6-0,6-1.
Highest ranked Nigerian player, Clifford Enosoregbe (1132) lived up to his rating as he brought tournament number 3 player, Amir Wentraub (352), who won theÂ first leg, to his knee in a tension soaked game that ended in straight set of 6-2,7-6(1).
Cliffordâ€™s brother, Kingsley, who qualified for the Main Draws through qualifiers,Â was too hot for South African Steffen Solomon (1422) in another straightÂ set of 6-2,6-4.
Home boy Samuel Omoile beat Russian Alexei Filenkov in 7-5,6-4 game.
However, the Nigerian players could not survived the heat of the tourney as they crashed in their next round of their respective matches, leaving theÂ foreigners to fight for the dollar prize money of the competition.
Indian boy, Karan Rastogi won the Menâ€™s Singles in the second leg. He upset South African Raven Klaffner in a tension soaked game that ended 6-2,6-7,7-5. TheÂ final was watched by Governor Raji Fashola and top officials of Etisalat and FCMB.
Tournament favourite, Slovak Zuzana Kucova, was stopped from achieving his dream of winning the Womenâ€™s Singles back to back by Russian Nina Bratchikova, asÂ she was defeated in straight sets of 7-5,6-1.
Meanwhile, the Top 8 tournament, which Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, usually organised for the local players at the last quarter of the year could not holdÂ due to lack of sponsors.
On the international scene, Roger Federer won the ATP World Tours Finals in London, while Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki won the ITF world championsÂ award for 2010. Nadal also won the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year award.
American star, Serena Williams announced her pulling out of the 2011 Australian Open because of her foot injury which prevented her from playing in the USÂ Open.