Kimberly Bhunu, the younger sister to two-time Zimbabwe Open ladies’ champion Valeria, lifted the country’s flag high in Windhoek, Namibia, after winning the girls’ Under-12 title on the last day of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Southern African Junior Tennis Championships on Saturday.
Bhunu, playing in her first major regional tournament, beat her compatriot Beverly Matsiwe 6-0, 6-1 in straight sets on her way to lifting the southern African title.
Bhunu, however, will not be part of the six-member Zimbabwean team that qualified for the African Junior Tennis Championships in Egypt in April as the tournament does not have an Under-12 category.
Zimbabwe’s chances of picking up a second southern African title were dashed when another up-and-coming local player Courtney Lock, the lost in the boys U-16 final.
According to reports from Namibia, South Africa-based Lock lost to Lloyd Harris of South Africa 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in an emotionally charged match, with both players often querying line calls.
Young Lock is tipped to form a formidable doubles partnership with his brother Benjamin, who was recently awarded a full tennis scholarship at Florida State University.
In the girls’ Under-16 final Namibia’s Sedi Jacobs found the going hard when she lost to top-seeded Theresa van Zyl of South Africa.
Fourteen-year-old Jacobs lost the match 6-2, 6-0 in a quick final that was dominated by the older Van Zyl. In the U-14 boys final, Luneta Chisomo of Malawi beat South African Jandre Lessing 6-2, 6-3.
Nadine de Villiers of South Africa won the U-14 girls final after she beat Randy Randrianasolo of Madagascar 6-4, 6-3.
Meanwhile, six of the 11 players who represented Zimbabwe at the zonal qualifiers in Namibia qualified for the African Junior Championships Tennis finals to be hosted in Cairo, Egypt, later this year.
Lock and Alwyn Mushonga qualified to represent Zimbabwe in the boys Under-16 while Tadiwa Mushonga and Keith Mwashita who both fell in the quarter-finals qualified in the boys Under-14 category.
The Mutare-based duo of Muswere who lost in the semis yesterday, and Karen Machisa, who was knocked out in the quarter-finals qualified to represent Zimbabwe in the girls’ Under-14 category.
Zimbabwe girls, however, miss out in the girls Under-16 category where Latifah Yasini and Zara Finnigan were both eliminated in the early stages of the tournament.