The Sunday News
Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
ASPIRING tennis stars from Zimbabwe missed out on claiming top accolades in the recently ended International Tennis Federation (ITF) Under-18 South Central tournament that was played at Bulawayo Country Club.
Zimbabwe was represented in all the finals that took place, but fell short of going all the way. Julie Tungamirai, who was partnered with Emilia Julin from Britain, managed to claim gold in the girls’ doubles.
Tungamirai and Julin beat the pair of Tanyaradzwa Midzi from Zimbabwe and Melissa Mwakha from Kenya with set scores of 6-4 and 6-3 to win the girls’ doubles final and round up an impressive campaign on the court. Midzi and Mwakha booked their spot in the final after edging Simphiwe Malunguza and Tendai Makunike both from Zimbabwe with scores of 6-3 and 6-1.
In the girls’ singles final, Zimbabwean youngster Zahara El-Zein lost her match against Mwakha to settle for silver after an impressive round. El-Zein lost a closely contested game with round scores of 6-4 and 7-5. In the semi-finals, El-Zein beat France’s Elena Michel with scores of 6-4, 1-6 and 6-1.
The boys’ doubles final saw the Zimbabwean pair of Mengezi Sibanda and Ronan Mtisi lose against South African, Reuben De Klerk and his Madagascan partner Hasina Ranaivo. The match ended 6-1 and 6-4. Sibanda and Mtisi made their way to the final after recording a 6-4, 6-7 and 10-7 win over Thompson Thomu and Forbes Hollingsworth (Malta).
De Klerk went on to win the highly contested boys singles’ final, beating Zimbabwe’s Thomu with scores of 6-3 and 6-4 to round up an impressive tournament from the South African. Thomu, on his way to the final beat Sibanda in the semi finals with scores of 7-5, 6-2 while De Klerk beat Mtisi 6-3 and 6-3 in their two sets.
Bulawayo Metropolitan Tennis Board (BMTB) Chairperson, Tarwirwa Chikunichawa said he was impressed with the way the Zimbabwean youngsters played, adding that the continued hosting of such tournaments has played a huge role in making them get better and also get ranking points.
The just ended tournament was the first leg of the flagship event and the second leg is scheduled to start tomorrow at the same venue. – @brandon_malvin