All is set for the start of this year’s edition of the NetOne Zimbabwe Open Tennis Championships at Harare Sports Club on Friday morning.
A total of 72 players, 29 ladies and 53 men, went into the hat on Thursday for the pre-tournament draw which set up potentially-exciting match-ups for the first round.
In the men’s draw, Benjamin Lock was seeded first and will meet unseeded Nkanyiso Ndlovu in the first round.
Lock, who is based in South Africa, is one of the hot favourites to win the Zimbabwe Open after making his debut for Zimbabwe Davies Cup team early this year in Morocco.
Last year’s losing finalist, second seed Martin Dzuwa, also had a relatively easy first round tie with unseeded Jotham Majaya.
Speaking after the draw Dzuwa said: “There are going to be exciting matches in this tournament and the players have been working hard and hopefully the fans will come in their numbers and support the youngsters.”
Dzuwa, who is now into coaching , lost to Vusa Hove in last year’s final but has a rich history in the tournament after becoming the first black player to win the Zimbabwe Open singles title in 1995.
Zimbabwean-born Shingirai Muzondiwa, who is now playing Davies Cup tennis for Botswana, will meet Muchengeti Hwacha in one of the interesting match-ups pitting unseeded players.
Third seed Tinashe Chikanda was drawn against unseeded Ronzai Saurombe.
Malcolm Mutungamiri received a bye to the next round where he will meet the winner between the unseeded pair of Prince Mupopoma and Kundai Masunda.
In the ladies draw, which is dominated by upcoming young players, all the first six seeded players received byes to the next round.
South African-based Valeria Bhunu was seeded first while Stacey Lock came second.
Lock will meet the winner between Chipo Ziyambi and Tariro Dembo, while fourth seed Thabile Tshatedi was set to meet the winner between Rumbidzai Bonzo and Adelo Kaklamanasi.
The tournament is being sponsored to the tune of $10000 and the winners for the men and women’s teams will get $800 and $600, respectively.