The finals of the Azimuth Shipping Lines Junior Tennis Tournament produced some unprecedented winners including Gbolahan Olawale from Ondo State and Lorelay Holzendorf from Edo State. The pair were outstanding in the boys and girls 14 finals.
Even though he was already popular on Ondo State, not many people on the national scene could say they knew Gbolahan until he matched the more prominent David Edwards stroke for stroke and showed great resilience to win the boys 14 finals in two straight sets of 7-5, 6-1.
Also, Lorelay, another fantastic player whose grit and passion was obvious on the court, showed AJC gold-winning Ndidi Osaji that she was the better player, as she defeated her opponent 6-3, 6-4.
In the boys 12 finale, Chukwudubem Amasiam was ruthless against homeboy Peter Ubiebi, as he defeated the latter 6-3, 6-1 inside the centre court while crowd favourite and budding sensation, Mofifunoluwa Atilola, was outplayed by Emmanuella Kwange from Niger State, in the girls 12 finals. Kwange won 6-2, 6-2.
In a repeat of the 2022 final of the girls 16 category, underrated Bright Emmanuel, yet again, shone like stars against her tough opponent, Khadijat Mohammed, battling to a 7-5, 6-3 win and cement her place as the undisputed champion.
And in the most fascinating final contest of the evening, John Nubari and Yahaya Sani slugged it out against each other in the boys 16 final inside the centre court of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan.
Sani, a member of the all-conquering Team Nigeria to the recent AJC tournament in Togo, won the first set against his Rivers-based opponent in a match that ended 7-5, but Nubari showed why he remains a player to beat.
The runner-up in the 2022 edition came out blazing in the second set with a 6-2 win before exciting the crowd with his technicality on court in the super tie breaker, winning 10-4.
Captain Stephen Owolabi Martins, MD/CEO of Azimuth Shipping Lines Limited, and sponsor of the tournament, expressed his excitement at the level of competition in the closing matches of the competition, and promised to always ensure that the event gets bigger every year.
“You know that this year’s tournament is bigger than last year’s own in terms of what we gave the kids, this is the standard we want to improve on every year.
“We always want to get better every year, and we believe that next year will be even bigger.
“Thank you to everyone who came around, and I pray that you return home safely, especially for those traveling,” he said at the closing ceremony.
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