16 Jan 2015

Togo stages first events in a decade


News Article

By Nick Fishpool

Ivo Klec (SVK)

Following an absence of just over ten years, the ITF Pro Circuit returned to Togo for two men’s tournaments in December. The two tournaments, in the Circuit's highest category of $15,000+H, took place in consecutive weeks and were staged in the nation’s capital city; Lome.

The previous visit to the nation came back in July 2004 and saw Togolese national Komlavi Loglo claim the title. 1998 saw the only other Togo based tournament, a tournament which saw Claude N’Goran from Cote D’Ivoire victorious.

In the first of this 2014 double-header, the top two seeds, Enrique Lopez-Perez from Spain and Belgium’s Maxime Authom, made steady, and very similar, progress through the rounds to set up a final encounter. Both players came into the final having dropped just one set each; for both players this was in their respective semifinal matches in which they both came from behind to earn the win.

In the final a close first set was claimed by the second seeded Belgian who then dominated in the second set to secure a 75 61 win for this sixth and final title on the ITF Pro Circuit for 2014.

Authom was also a winner in the doubles event where he partnered Colombian Juan Sebastian Gomez to the title. The fourth seeds triumphing in straight sets over the seconds seeds Davis O’Hare and Joe Salisbury from Ireland and Great Britain respectively.

The same venue then played host to the second tournament the following week which also featured an all-European singles final.

Spain’s Jaime Pulgar-Garcia, seeded two, dropped the opening set of his semifinal before recovering to claim a place in the final but a straight sets loss in the other semifinal prevented a title showdown with his twin brother Javier.

Instead he faced the fourth seed Ivo Klec. The one-time Davis Cup player looked to be on his way to defeat having lost the first set 62 but Jaime failed to avenge his brother’s defeat when Klec fought his way back into the match with a 7-4 tiebreak win before securing a personal back-to-back double over the twins with a reverse of the opening set for his first singles title win in 12 months.

2004 singles champion Loglo, partnering Josselin Ouanna from France, enjoyed plenty of home support in the doubles final but was unable to deliver the title as the unseeded pairing fell to the second seeds and the previous weeks beaten finalists O’Hare and Salisbury 76(5) 64.

Tournament Quotes

"After two weeks with all these great players, I dream of winning this tournament in few years and, one day, a Grand Slam tournament"

- Sylvestre Manou, 13 (event ballboy)

 

"This tournament was great. I think it's certainly the best way to improve African players level and develop African tennis"

- Josselin Ouanna

 

"Was great having ball boys, having a lot of supporters was great and everyone was very welcoming and friendly. I hope to come back next year"

- Joe Salisbury

 

"Overall everything was perfect and I would definitely return to Togo for more events in the future"

- David O'Hare

 

"The feedback from the tournament is that it was the best ever organised in Togo. Thank you to all fantastic people involved in this success as well as players who came from all over the world, President and members of Togolese Tennis Federation, ITF Officials, Line Umpires, Balls Boys, Spectators, Organising Committee Staff, Sponsors and especially Mr Lala Gnassingbé (Director of PROEVOLUTION). The tournament would not have taken place without his dedication and commitment. Again thank you all for your support and hard work"

- Mr Boniface Papa Nouveau
(President of the Organising Committee)



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