It was a disappointing day for some of Nigeria’s top seeded players at opening day of the 2018 Chamberlain Squash Open on Monday. The trio of Gabriel Olufunminlayo, Adegoke Onaopemipo and Femi Shedara all failed to make it beyond the qualifying round.
Nigerian number seven, Olufunmilayo, lost 3-2 to Ahmed Hassan at the Main Court of the Indoor Sports Hall at the Teslim Balogun stadium, Lagos.
Hassan of Zimbabwe defeated his gallant Nigerian challenger, 5-11, 11-9, 11-6, 8-11, 6-11 in the first match of match day one.
Ahmed took the first game 11-5 before Olufunmilayo bounced back to level the game at 1-1 apiece.
Third game was full of nerves, the Nigerian raced into an 8-4 lead before losing his composure to drop the next five points as Hassan rallied back to lead 9-8.
However, the number seven recovered from that slip up to take the third game for a 2-1 advantage.
Just when it looked like he had found his form again, Olufunmilayo capitulated, losing the next two games, 11-8, 11-6 as Hassan sealed a place in Wednesday’s main draws.
Onaopemipo was the second Nigerian on the court, but unlike Olufunmilayo, he was thrashed 3-0 by Sebastien Bonmalais of France.
Shedara was the other Nigerian who failed to win a set, as he lost in straight sets to number one ranked Daniel Mekbib of Czech Republic.
Meanwhile, it was not all gloom and doom for Nigeria, as Idowu Enimakure defeated the competition’s seventh seed, Youssef Hisham of Egypt 3-2 in a very entertaining game at the traditional court.
Abdulrahman Yusuf saw off the challenge of fellow Nigerian, Wasiu Bello, to also register his name in the main draw.
In the final and second all-Nigerian game of the day, it was titanic battle between two of Nigeria’s best players, Sodiq Taiwo and Babatunde Ajagbe.
Taiwo raced into a 2-0 lead, but Ajagbe completed an incredible comeback to seal a 3-2 victory, and a place in the next round.
The qualifying round continues on Tuesday, with the opening ceremony slated for Wednesday at the same venue.
Ahmed Hassan (Zim) bt Gabriel Olufunmilayo (NGR)
Sebastien Bonmalais (FRA) bt Adegoke Onaopemipo (NGR)
Daniel Mekbib (CZE) bt Femi Hedara (NGR)
Marwan Tarek (EGY) bt Jean-Pierre Brits (RSA)
Abdulrahman Yusuf (NGR) bt Wasiu Bello (NGR)
Idowu Enimakure (NGR) bt Youssef Hisham (EGY)
Babatunde Ajagbe (NGR) bt Sodiq Taiwo