A new tennis star is born!” That was the exclamation of Uzonna Izugbokwe, director of the Luik Recreation Club – a private tennis club in Lekki Lagos after he watched Philip Abayomi overwhelm Michael Ayoola in the second semifinals of the Zenith Bank “Next Generation” Junior Tennis Masters yesterday at the National Stadium in Lagos.
Abayomi, who had never reached the semifinal of any ITA Junior Circuit tournament because of his erratic power game, appeared to have mastered the art of power play and improved his backhand to the amazement of his opponents.
The 16-year-old, who kept a clean slate in the round robin, eliminating Michael Oshewa, the National 18s champion and pre-tournament favourite, took a 5-0 lead before Ayoola got on the score board.
Both players thereafter held serve until the end when Ayoola’s forehand volley into the net gave Abayomi his first tournament finals.
“This is a player to watch.” continued Izugbokwe. “ If he can get his backhand to be half as good as his forehand we should have a world star in our hands,” he added
Abayomi will meet Port Harcourt-based Godgift Timibra, who won a see-saw battle with Tochukwu Ezeh from the Onitsha Club 9-5.
The girls’ final will be between Oyin Quadre and Toyin Asogba.