Lagos-based Team Muller overran fellow debutantes Team Ndoma -Egba of Abuja 5-2 to qualify for the finals of the NCC Tennis League where a mouth-watering prize of N7 million awaits the champions.
The tie which took place at the Enugu Sports Club saw a very determined Team Muller led by Joseph Imeh make a clean sweep of the four men's singles matches.
Imeh opened scores by overpowering a vastly improved Paul Emmanuel 6-4, 6-4 in the first men's singles match and Emmanuel Idoko, surprisingly, easily defeated former national champion Thomas Otu 6-2, 6-2. Aanu Aiyegbusi pulled one back for the Abuja-based team when she beat Ronke Akingbade 7-5, 6-1 in the ladies' singles but the hope of Team Ndoma-Egba dimmed when the pair of Imeh and Mohammed Mohammed defeated Sunday Maku and Otu 6-3, 6-4 in the men's doubles to stretch the lead to 3-1 at the end of the first day's proceedings.
Team Ndoma-Egba's Paul Emmanuel fought hard to keep the tie alive in the first reverse singles against a wily Idoko but could not sustain the momentum that saw him win the first set as his opponent crept back to win 1-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Idoko's win effectively put the tie beyond the reach of Team Ndoma Egba which conceded the second reverse singles but fought to win the mixed doubles with the pair of Osareme Airhunwhunde and Taye Owolabi edging Mohammed and Deborah Gbadamosi 4-6, 6-2, 14 - 12.
The second semifinals between defending champions, Team Offikwu of Kaduna and Team Civil Defence of Abuja will take place in Abuja Dec. 2 and Dec.3.
The NCC Tennis League which is now at the 'business end' featured 12 teams playing across 12 cities for a total cash prize of N23 million. The champions get N7 million, runners-up N5 million, third place N3 million and fourth place N2 million. The NCC Tennis League has been described as the best thing that has happened to Nigerian tennis in recent years.