by Ian Marshall, Editor
Mahmoud Helmy accounted for the host nation’s Olajide Omotayo, the no.20 seed (8-11, 9-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-3, 11-2), Ronit Bhanja ousted Bode Abiodun, a player who had been crucial to Nigeria’s silver medal in the Men’s Team event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games earlier this year.
In the closest match of the round, Ronit Bhanja emerged successful by the minimal two point margin in the deciding seventh game (4-11, 11-9, 4-11, 12-10, 10-12, 11-9, 12-10).
Farewell to two seeded players, it was farewell to two more but very much a technicality. Nigeria’s Azeez Jamiu and Hammed Adeyinka received walk-overs against absent opponents, Azeez Jamiu when due to face Romania’s Alexandru Cazacu, the no.21 seed, Hammed Adeyinka when scheduled to oppose Ghana’s Derek Abrefa, the no.24 seed.
Meanwhile, for the leading players in the lower half of the draw when facing host nation opponents, there were comfortable wins.
Russia’s Alexey Liventsov, the no.2 seed, beat Kehinde Ogidan (10-12, 11-4, 11-3, 13-11, 11-3), Brazil’s Thiago Monteiro, the no.4 seed, accounted for Shamusi Agbaje (11-3, 11-5, 11-9, 11-6).
Likewise, Argentina’s Horacio Cifuentes, the no.7 seed, overcame Akinwale Fagbamilia (11-8, 11-9, 12-10, 11-3); Hungary’s Tamas Lakatos, the no.8 seed, ended the hopes of Olawale Olaniyi (11-3, 11-6, 11-9, 8-11, 11-9).
Comprehensive wins but there were close calls; Nigerian players proving more than worthy opponents.
Scotland’s Gavin Rumgay, the no.9 seed, needed the full seven games to beat Nurudeen Hassan (11-3, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4, 4-11, 8-11, 11-8); likewise Laurens Tromer of the Netherlands, the no.12 seed, was severely tested by Ayo Omotara (11-8, 14-16, 8-11, 11-8, 6-11, 11-6, 11-7).
The second round of action will be completed later in the evening.
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