Fast rising tennis youngster Joseph Imeh got the revenge he promised by beating Abdulmumuni Babalola 6-3, 6-3 in the first singles of the NCC Tennis League opener in Abuja over the weekend.
Imeh playing for Lagos based Team Muller had lost in the finals of the 2017 CBN Senior Championships to Babalola also in straight sets.
The rising star who had a winning Davis Cup debut for Nigeria last month in Egypt also played a major role in securing an upset victory against Team Civil Defence, winners of the inaugural edition in 2015.
Imeh beat Clifford Enosorogbe 6-4, 6-3 in the reverse singles and paired Mohammed Mohammed to win the doubles against Enosoregbe and Nonso Madueke 7-5, 2-6, 10-6.
Emmanuel Idoko, playing the No.2 singles for Team Muller also did his bit by upsetting Babalola in the second singles 6-7, 7-6, 6-4.
|Imeh Joseph has gotten his revenge against the Nigerian top player in their match over the weekend. |
The three points for Team Civil Defence came from national ladies' champion, Christie Agugbom who defeated Ronke Akingbade 6-2, 6-3; Enosoregbe who beat Idoko 7-5, 6-3 in the first singles and the mixed doubles where Babalola and Agugbom triumphed over Idoko and Akingbade 6-3, 6-2.
The pulsating tie which has set a very good tone for the 2017 tennis league was preceded by a well attended opening ceremony which had the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udo Udo-udoma, a tennis player and multi talented sports person in his hay days, serve off the event.
The Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, who served off the event last year was away in Uganda attending the African Union ministerial conference.
"This very laudable private initiative," Udo- Udoma said in his speech.
"It is exactly the direction this government wants to go by allowing the private sector lead development in the major sectors of the economy. Sports has enormous capacity to engage our youth, create jobs and earn good foreign exchange that would grow our economy. It is projects like this that can bring out the sporting talent in our youth.
|Stylish Babalola has lost to Imeh, maybe not where it matters the most.|
"I therefore commend the NCC for this investment in our youth and Godwin Kienka and his team for doing such a good job," he added.
The NCC Tennis League will continue this weekend with ties in Ibadan and Ilorin as Team Oluyole will be hosting Team VGC Lions of Lagos at the Adamasingba stadium Ibadan while Team Optiwebb of Ilorin will take on Team Kalotari of Port Harcourt at the Kwara Stadium.