19th October, 2012
The Egyptian player, Karim-Mohamed Maamoun, who caused the first major upset at the ongoing Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, has attributed his victory over Slovak Kamil Capkovic yesterday to the support he got from Nigerians who were watching from the stands at the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
The Egyptian, who defeated the defending champion and the tournament’s top seed in straight sets of 6-4, 7-5, disclosed that at a stage in the grudge match, he was getting weak while Capkovic was getting back into the game, but the cheering from the fans was the tonic he needed for his confidence to return, and miraculously he got back to his winning ways.
The All Africa Games semi-finalist said: “Playing against Capkovic, who is the top seed in Lagos this year, was a very difficult match for me, but I thank God that I survived the scare. The support I got from Nigerians helped me a lot and I want to thank them for their motivation.
“I never thought that I was going to beat Capkovic, not even when I was leading in the first set. After leading 4-1 in the second set. He showed how big a player he was by coming back into the game and we were level at 5-5 before I rallied back with the home support that I got here.”
Meanwhile, top seed in the Women’s Singles, Russian Nina Brachikova, was made to work very hard before defeating Madagascar’s Zarah Razafimahatratra 6-7(1), 6-1, 6-3 in another thrilling encounter yesterday in the FCMB/Etisalat Nigeria sponsored ITF pro circuit yesterday.
Nina, who confessed that she played a very difficult match against the 18-year old lady, said that the harsh weather was responsible for her near exit in the hands of the African.
“I played a very hard game against the girl from Madagascar and I must confess the weather was quite harsh on me. It took me time to adjust to the weather, but she (Zarah) was clearly used to the harsh weather here,” said Nina, who played in the second round of the Australian Open this year.
Nina, however, praised the Madagascar rookie, stating that she showed great consistency and was also a good match reader.
“She was very consistent, mentally strong and she could read the game very well. I did not know her before and had to take some time before understanding her game. I made some very technical mistakes as well and I nearly paid for those mistakes, but I had to pull myself together to win the match,” she said.