Three local players stormed into the quarter-finals of the ongoing ITF/CAT Southern Africa Zonal Junior Championships at Harare Sports Club Wednesday.
The number could have increased had the rainy weather not affected some of the matches, which had to be rescheduled to later in the day.
However, the South Africa-based duo of Valeria Bhunu and Nicole Dzenga were unstoppable in the girls’ Under-14 category where they were both seeded first after Tuesday’s draw.
Dzenga, who is yet to drop a set in this tournament, sailed through to the next round after a dominant 6-2, 6-2 victory over Bardet Charlotte of Mauritius in the girls’ Under-14 age group.
Bhunu, who is also unbeaten, had a bye in the second round before breezing past Joao Ilga of Mozambique 6-1, 6-0 in a one-sided encounter.
Her rival in that category and fifth seed Emmanuelle de Beer brewed a shocker against Namibian fourth seed Linique Theron who she beat 6-1, 6-3 to book a date with Bhunu in the quarter-finals.
There was also joy for Zimbabwe in the boys’ Under-14 category when unseeded Ngoni Mukambwa beat Namibian Katu Jacobs 6-0, 6-3 to book a place in the quarter-finals.
Third seed Taremeredzwa Mariga emulated her compatriots with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Botswana’s Similo Sibanda in the boys’ Under-16s.
Tadiwa Chinamo, who was seeded third in the boys’ Under-14s made light work of Mauritian Hemunshu Rambojun 6-3, 6-0.
Unseeded Zimbabwean Tadiwa Mberi was set to clash with top seed Mathew Rossouw while Ronzai Saurombe, who is seeded second in the Under- 16s, is up against unseeded Legorang Dimpo of Botswana.
In the girls’ Under-16s Chipo Ziyambe was also one win away from a quarter-final berth after a 6-1, 6-3 victory over Marie Hartz of Namibia.
Zimbabwe coach Freeman Nyamunokora said he was confident that at least eight players would qualify for the continental championships in Egypt in April.
In an interview on the sidelines of the championships, which come to an end on Saturday, Nyamunokora said: “Our chances of sending many kids for the championships are very bright at the moment. We have eight of our 16 players in a very strong position to qualify for Egypt.
“The youngsters have been working very hard and some of them have been rewarded by good results.”
The top seven players in each age group for both the girls’ and boys’ Under-14 and 16 qualify for the 34 African Junior Tennis Championships in Egypt in April.
Namibia, South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Mauritius, Madagascar, Lesotho, Swaziland, Zambia and hosts Zimbabwe are taking part in the tournament.