VETERAN Abdulmumuni Babalola on Saturday, June 3, 2017 at the centre court of the National Stadium, Lagos, clinched the 39th Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Senior Tennis title.
The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) man defeated Joseph Imeh in two straight sets 6-4, 6-3 to claim his sixth victory in the annual prestigious tournament and the star
prize money of N700,000.
Ibadan-based Babalola who last won the CBN title in 2014 at the expense of Henry Atseye (6-2, 6-2) had sent a warning signal to reclaim the title he last won in 2014 when he sent Spain-based and highly-favoured Sylvester Emmanuel packing after three sets 3-6,
6-3, 6-4 in the semi-final.
Babalola with this victory needs one more title victory to equal the seven record wins held by David Imonite (1982, 83, 84, 87, 88, 89, 91).
'Munaco' as he is fondly called, it will be recalled, won the CBN title in 2002, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2014 before the 2017 victory.
It was a tournament to remember for Babalola as he had earlier claimed the men's doubles title, when he paired age-long partner Shehu Lawal to beat Joseph Imeh and Mohammad Mohammad 7-5, 7-5.
Interestingly, another Ibadan-based player, Sarah Adegoke claimed the women’s’ singles title when she outclassed former junior sensation Marylove Edwards 6-0, 6-3 in the final.
It was Adegoke's first title win in the CBN senior championship having lost in the 2012 final to former number women's number one, Fatima Abinu.
The final was not a difficult one for Adegoke especially in the first set as she put her wealth of experience to bear on the day to overwhelm 12-year-old opponent.
Edwards coached by Kayode Savage emerged the revelation of this year's CBN championship having defeated experienced players including Blessing Samuel 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 in the semi-final.
However, Adegoke alongside Amina Quadri had lost to Christy Agugbom and Blessing Samuel in the women’s doubles final after three hard fought sets 6-2, 3-6 10-8.
From left, men's singles champion, Abdulmumuni Babalola; sponsor of Dayak tennis and newly-elected President of the Nigeria Tennis Federation, Mr Dayo Akindoju and the winner of the women's singles of the 39th CBN Senior Tennis championship, Sarah Adegoke after
their victories in Lagos.