Zimbabwean tennis sensation, Benjamin Lock is now ranked the best Under-18 player on the continent and 63rd in the world according to the Confederation of African Tennis rankings released on Friday.
The South Africa-based tennis star won the International Junior Championships of Botswana — the warm-up tournament for the 34th African Junior Tennis Championships (AJC).
Although Lock was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the AJC proper which ended on Friday, it was his performances in the star-studded International Championships which helped him topple Karim Hossan of Egypt.
The International Championships of Botswana attracted players from Europe and South America while the AJC was reserved for players from the continent only.
Lock had been invincible in the warm-up tournament, beating South African Wayne Montgomery in the final but lost against the same opponent in the quarter-finals of the championships proper.
Zimbabwe’s good performances at the Championship came from Valeria Bhunu and Ronzai Saurombe who both finished fourth overall in the Under-14 girls’ and boys’ categories respectively.
Mutare-based Saurombe was eventually stopped in the semi-finals by the eventual winner Osama Mazeh of Egypt who came from a set down to win 1-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Mazeh went on to beat compatriot Omar Sherif 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an all-Egyptian final.
However, Saurombe would miss out on a bronze medal after losing in the third and fourth play-off to South African Mathew Rossouw 6-2, 6-1.
Bhunu, who trains at the International Tennis Federation training centre in Pretoria on a full-time basis, reached the semi-finals before losing out to eventual overall winner Mayar Sherif of Egypt 6-0, 7-5.
Bhunu would go on to settle for fourth place after losing the third and fourth play-off to Madrie Le Roux 0-6, 6-1 (10-4) after a tie breaker.
The other good performance came in the boys’ Under-18 doubles from Lock and Tapfuma who reached the semi-finals before losing to eventual winners Karim Hossam and Albert Mina 4-6, 6-4 (10-4).
Young tennis sensation Nicole Dzenga, who had very high hopes going into this tournament had a below par performance in her debut appearance at the tournament after losing out in the second round of the Under-14 girls’ singles.
Dzenga who is ranked second on the continent was knocked out by Mauritian Rita Atik 7-5, 6-3 while Mutare-based Karen Muswere was outclassed in the second round 6-0, 6-0 by Zainab El Houari of Mauritius.
More than 200 players drawn from 24 African countries took part in the tournament.