"I am going to win!" This was the declaration made by number six seed of the Accra Open tennis competition, Johnson Acquah after he eased into the Round of 16 stage of the competition with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Benjamin Nii Noi Ababio yesterday at the Accra Sports Stadium.
Acquah, 20, lost the final of the competition last year and he says he has left no stone unturned in his quest to avenge his painful loss to this year's number two seed Benjamin Fumi.
He advanced to the Round of 32 stage last Sunday with a 6-3, 5-0 win over Francis Akpese (rtd) and showed no ill-effects from that win yesterday on centre court.
"Last year, I managed to reach the final but I lost painfully. So, in preparation for this year, I played a prize-money tournament in Benin and reached the third round," he said.
"When I got back, I went into serious training with my coach (Yahaya Macauley) and worked on my serves and volleys. I am seeing the results and I feel very confident of victory".
Indeed, so dominant was his performance that his opponent, Ababio who was still catching his breath from chasing powerful volleys on the court told the Daily Graphic in a separate interview that only Acquah could walk away with the $2,000 prize money on Saturday.
Acquah who is the Ghana Tennis Federation's number one ranked player faces darkhorse Richmond Addo when the competition resumes today.
Meanwhile, the women's championship gets underway today in the round of 32 stage with Naa McKorley battling Jessica Adeley, Rosemary Agyekum playing Eugenia Asigri and Vanessa Akuako engaging Lawrencia Aghoghorbia in some of the interesting ties.
About the Accra Open
The competition which is in its second year is the brainchild of celebrated Ghanaian artist and tennis enthusiast Amoako Boafo and his Boafo & Anan Foundation with support from the Kempinski Hotel, Gallery1957 and Tennis Foundation Ghana.
The tournament created to keep Ghanaian tennis players active has a total prize money of $14,000 with $2000, and $1000 reserved for the winners of the respective men's and women's championships. The semi-finalists and quarter-finalists will also bag $500 and $300 each.