Zimbabwe’s promising young female tennis player Valeria Bhunu beat her second seeded compatriot Pauline Chawafambira 6-0, 6-4 to win the International Tennis Federation (ITF) South and Central Junior Circuit Championships in Windhoek, Namibia, over the weekend.
Top-seed Bhunu — who turned 16 in April — had a bye in the first round before pulling off four straight wins without dropping a set throughout the tournament.
This was Bhunu’s first title in the ITF 18-and-under Circuit since moving up from the Under-16s and the victory should improve Bhunu’s ITF Junior ranking points considerably.
Bhunu — who is ranked ninth on the continental rankings and 284th in the world — met South Africa opponents from the second round, starting with Jabu Kubheka, who she dismissed 6-1, 6-2 in straight sets.
She followed up that victory with another convincing 6-0, 7-5 win over Jessica Simpson before booking her place in the final with a 7-6, 6-2 win over fourth seed Ilze Hattingh.
In the final she proved too strong for second-seeded compatriot, Chawafambira who suffered a double blow as she went on to lose the girls doubles final.
Chawafambira, who was partnering Emmanuelle de Beer of Mauritius lost 6-3, 7-6 in the doubles final to the Namibian pair of Carita Moolman and Liniques Theron.
According to reports the Namibian pair displayed good combinations at the net and steady groundstrokes to comfortably win the first set 6-3.
The second-seeded pair put up a stronger performance in the second set, taking it to a tie-break, but the Namibian’s nerve held as they won the tiebreak 7-4 to win the set 7-6.
While Zimbabwe girls impressed at this tournament the boys found the going tough with only one player Innocent Mhere among the four local players registered, managing to reach the quarter-finals.
Takudzwa Muswere and Courtney were knocked out in the second round, while Ronzai Saurombe crashed out in the third round.
Meanwhile, Bhunu and company immediately shifted their attention to the South African leg of the tournament which served off yesterday before the Zimbabwe leg which will take place at Harare Sports Club from next Monday.