07.08.2002 Sports News

Mixed fortunes for Ghana in ITF Masters

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Henry Adjei-Darko, Ghana’s remaining hope in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s West Africa Satellite Masters Tournament gallantly bowed out when he was beaten in three sets 2-6, 6-3, 3-6 by Mohammed Drame of France at the Centre Court of the Accra Sports Stadium yesterday.

Young Adjei-Darko, playing his second tournament since turning professional was not overawed by the play of his more experienced opponent ranked 354 in the world as he matched him through out the game.

The Ghanaian showed a lot of nerves in the first set and committed a lot of unforced errors at the net and was broken twice in the second and fourth game as Drame took a relatively easy one set lead.

The Ghanaian settled in the second set as he became more focused on his serve and volley game to hold onto his serve. Adjei-Darko broke Drame for the first time in the sixth game as he pulled out some remarkable saves to deny the Malian born French.

Drame brought his experience to bear on the game and broke back in the ninth game but Adjei-Darko was unperturbed as he broke again immediately to win the second set.

Adjei-Darko’s game again fizzled out as tiredness set in the third, Drame capitalised on this to break in the first game. It was a lead Drame did not relinquish, till the ninth game when he broke again to win the game.

On Monday Ghana’s top player, Gunther Darkey had a shock exit following 6-4, 6-4 defeat handed him by Briton Justin Layne on Centre Court.

It was a sweet revenge for the Briton who the Ghanaian had earlier eliminated at the same stage at the just ended Third Leg ITF Satellite Circuit event.

Gunther was not allowed to settle into his baseline game as Layne put pressure on his serve and broke him once to win the first set.

The Ghanaian appeared to have lost concentration as the game wore on in the second set as his powerful serves went into faulty territory resulting his serve being broken in the sixth game when he double-faulted at break point.

Though Gunther staged a fight back in the latter stages of the game, his efforts were not enough as Layne held onto the break lead to cause the first upset in the masters event.

In other quarter-final matches, No. 1 seed Claude N’Goran of Cote d’Ivoire beat Genius Chidzikwa of Zimbabwe 7-6(7-1) 6-1, Johan Du Randt of South Africa pushed out Number five seed Chris Lewis of Britain 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). The tournament continues today with the semi-finals matches.

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