The country’s number one wheelchair tennis player Nyasha Mharakurwa stormed into the finals of the prestigious Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) Free State Open played in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Tuesday.
The Johannesburg-based player cruised into the final of the competition with a vintage performance to beat hot favourite and fourth seeded Desmond Monyamane 6 – 2, 6 – 1.
Mharakurwa will now meet his doubles counterpart Evans Maripa in the final to be played on Wednesday at the Oud Studente Sports Club.
After their much-anticipated final showdown, the two will then set aside their differences to face Marshal Marsh and partner Geoffrey Letswalo in the doubles semi-finals.
“I had a good game in the semi-finals, it was the usual me and it feels good to qualify for the finals,” said Mharakurwa. “I’m expecting tough competition in the final because both of us played well in the semis but I will just go and play my best tennis and see what happens.”
The current Annual National Sports Awards Best Sportsman with a disability got a bye in the first round before outclassing Donald Ramphadi 6 – 1, 6 – 0 in the second round on Monday.
Stiff competition was awaiting Mharakurwa though in the quarter-finals when he met first seed Marsh in a gruelling match that lasted two-and-a-half hours.
However, Mharakurwa eventually prevailed in the energy-sapping contest with a 6 – 4,
4 – 6, 6 – 3 win.
“It was a very tough match, I was just off my game and nothing seemed to work well but I am glad I made it to the final,” said Mharakurwa.
“I’m not in the best of shape right now but I am glad I’m still playing well.”
Mharakurwa and Maripa, who got a bye in the first round walloped Donald Rampadi and Lekhanyani Lekhanyani 6 – 1, 6 – 0 to book a ticket into the semis.
Nyasha has played four single titles this year and have swept all of them.
“My goal is to get four titles in the singles, and I have four already so hopefully this will be the fourth one. It feels good to win these competitions,” said the number 54-ranked wheelchair tennis player.
The 27-year-old Mharakurwa is the only Zimbabwean player taking part in the competition as all the other players are from South Africa. The event has drawn the highest ranked players from the southern African country.
The tournament has drawn a field of 32 competitors in the Open division.