French-Nigerian Calvin Hemery Saturday ended his chase for an ITF Futures title in Nigeria with a 6-7 (2), 7-5, 6-1 win over Christopher Diaz-Figueroa of Guatemala at the GSL Open in Abuja.
The top seed Hemery, born of a Nigerian dad (Eno Henshaw-Aigbekaen) and French mum, was easily beaten by Serbian Pedja Krstin seven days earlier at the Dayak Championship Nigeria F2 Futures but he upped his game to sign off his fortnight stay in the Nigerian capital on a brilliant note as he headed to the French Open where he is scheduled to play a qualifying match on Sunday (today). He had prior to his arrival in Nigeria won the USA F15 Futures in Florida.
Both players failed to engineer a break in the first set with just one break point coming to the Central American in the eighth game when he was 40-30 up. The ensuing tie-break decider saw the unseeded world no 755 Guatemalan race to a 5-0 lead putting pressure on Hemery to make a number of unforced errors before sealing the set 7-2.
The second set dragged till 4-4 with both players not blinking on their serves but it was the 22-year-old world no 279, who got a breakthrough as he broke to love to lead 5-4. He then served out the set albeit his grounded shot which Diaz-Figueroa, who has five ITF Futures to his credit, returned with full force went inches off the baseline as the call by the line judge was greeted with cheers by the fans most of whom are already bracing up for another disappointment having seen their favourite player stumble exactly a week ago on the same court.
The earlier meeting of the players had also gone to rubber with Hemery edging a close contest 7-6, 6-7. 6-2 at the second round of the Dayak Championship but Hemery was to be third-time lucky, having lost the final of the 2016 Lagos Governor’s Cup Nigeria F6 Futures, by surging to a 6-1 final set win.
The GSL Open is the last of the three ITF Pro Circuit tournaments in Abuja which began with the Tombim Abuja Open on May 1st. The Lagos Governor’s Cup (Nigeria Futures 4 and 5) is the other programme in Nigeria on the ITF calendar for the year and is scheduled for October.