Zimbabwe is being represented by seven junior tennis players at the 35th Confederation of African Tennis/International Tennis Federation African Junior Championships which get underway today at Al-Solimaneyah City, Giza, Egypt.
The tournament, which will be played on clay offers competition in two age categories namely, the Under-14 and U-16 and has attracted 61 boys and 57 girls from 27 nations on the continent.
Young players, who will be carrying the nation’s hopes are Courtney Lock and Alwyn Mushonga (U-16 boys), Tadiwa Chinamo and Keith Mwashita (U-14 boys), Keren Muswere and Karen Machisa (U-14 girls).
France-based Nicole Dzenga is the country’s only representative in the U-16 girls.
According to reports from Egypt all the participating players took part in a warm-up tournament which allowed players to adapt to local conditions in preparation for the all-important African Junior Championships.
In the boys’ U-14, Chinamo got his campaign off to a promising start after beating Toufik Sahtali of Algeria 5-7, 3-6 in his warm-up match on Wednesday while Mwashita lost to Antoine Gbadoe from Togo 2-6, 2-6.
In the U-14 girls Karen Machisa beat Anicette Ahounou from Benin 7-6(3), 7-5 while her fellow compatriot Karen Muswere lost 6-1, 6-1 to Lamis Abdel Axix Alhussein from Egypt.
Lock, who is seeded fifth in the U-16 boys was shocked 6-4, 1-6, 6-4 by the unseeded Egyptian Omar Argoun while Mushonga also fell by the way side losing 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2 to Gabriel Atteh from Ghana.
The unseeded Dzenga, who qualified for the tournament courtesy of a wild card entry, as she didn’t take part in the qualifiers, upstaged Namibia’s Sedi Jacobs who is seeded sixth, 7-5, 0-6, 1-6
Dzenga is based at the prestigious ISP Tennis Academy in Nice, France.
The African Junior Championships is one of the most prestigious competitions in