Re: Nigeria F1 - 15.000$
Ibrahim, Nigeria's last survivor, crashes out
By Christian Okpara
NIGERIA'S last hope of winning a medal at the on-going Guinness Futures holding at the hard courts of the Ogbemudia Stadium, Benin, evaporated yesterday as its remaining entrant, Omotayo Ibrahim, crashed out of the competition by losing in two straight sets to Venezuela's Mariama Muci 4-6, 2-6.
Ibrahim, who put up a splendid fight to qualify for the quarter-final, could not muster enough energy and skill to overcome the crafty Venezuelan, who controlled the game effortlessly throughout the encounter.
Had Ibrahim managed to scale Muci's challenge, she would have been the only Nigerian in the semi-finals, which hold today.
Instead, Muci now joins Romanian, Diana Tranteanu, Rebecca Dandeniya and Jessica Weyreuter in the female semi-finals, just as Raven Klaasen of South Africa, Henry Darkho of Ghana, Luka Grecorc of Slovenia, who eliminated Nigeria's Jonathan Igbinovia on Wednesday and Russia's Vadim Davletsin will contest the semi-finals in the male category.
Since the beginning of the championship on Monday, Nigerian players have not fared well in the competition, which its entrants used to dominate in the late 1970s and the 1980s through David Imonitie, Godwin Kienka, Nduka Odizor, Tony Mmoh, amongst others.
Nigeria's male players started the losing trend with two of its Davis Cup members, Sunday Maku and Abdulmumuni Babalola, crashing out in the very first round of the competition on the opening day.
The Nigerians, who had gone into the tournament hoping to make amends for their poor showings in past tournaments, simply did not have the skill to survive the onslaughts against their less fancied foreign opponents.
Maku, who played against Russian Alexander Kudryavtsen, ranked 1035 in the world, lost in two sets of 4-6, 2-6 while Babalola was simply out of sorts in his tie against Egyptian Motaz Abou. The Young Egyptian, who has a poor ranking point of 1118, as against Babalola's 1019, still had the stuff to beat the Nigerian 7-5, 1-6, 6-3.
Although all the players have been talking of making amends in the Guinness Futures 11, which begins next Monday, spectators believe that only a miracle can change their fortune in the competition as the foreigners have demonstrated their superiority in this championship.