Melissa Ifidzhen’s hope of bagging a medal on her debut outing for Nigeria ended on Tuesday as she fell to Lee Barnard of South Africa 2-6, 7-5 6-1 in the second round of the ongoing 38th ITF/CAT African Closed Junior Championship holding at the Smash Tennis Academy in Cairo, Egypt.
After a one-sided opening set which saw the seventh-seeded South African breaking the Nigerian twice in succession from the third to sixth game, Melissa got her groove back by breaking her opponent in the fifth set of the second game to level the tie but fizzled out in the final set against her more aggressive opponent.
Less than two hours later, Melissa, a former Russian U12 champion, was back in action in the doubles and the energy consumed in her single’s clash reflected on her display as her tag with Elizabeth Garos-Pam could not match the fireworks from the pair of Chiraz Bechri of Tunisia and Ines Ibbou of Algeria who won the second round tie 6-2 6-3.
Bechri and Ibbou were seeded second and have received a bye coming into the match but they were also sent packing later in the day as they stumbled to the Egyptian duo of Hana Mortagy and Sandra Samir who are seeded seventh.
Other qualifiers in the doubles are Rita Atik / Zaineb Houari of Morocco, Rouxanne Van Rensburg / Katie Poluta of South Africa and Habiba Lasheen/ Farah Abd El Wahab of Egypt