TOP seed Courtney Lock is the country’s only title hopeful at the ITF 18 & Under South Central Circuit tennis tournament after sailing through to the semi-finals of the tourney at Harare Sports Club yesterday, on a day when all his fellow countrymen crumbled.
Lock progressed to the semis at the expense of his compatriot Tadiwa Chinamo, winning the match in straight sets 6-3 6-3.
He will now meet fourth seed Akram El Sallaly in today’s semis. The Egyptian qualified to the last four with a hard fought 7-6(4) 1-6 6-2 win over Innocent Tidimane of Botswana.
“Tadiwa played very well and I knew it was not going to be easy, but yah it was a good match, the crowd was nice they came to watch and I’m happy with my performance,” said Lock.
He added: “I’m in the semi-finals now and I’m playing an Egyptian who is very good and obviously it gets tougher as we progress, but obviously I want to play my best tennis. I’m hoping for the best and obviously I got to aim to win the tournament, but I should take match by match and see how it goes.”
Alwyn Mushonga was another country’s hopeful after his round three feat when he outclassed Egyptian Aly Zaghloul, but was no match for Ivory Coast youngster Gueninle Ouattara, losing the match 7-5 6-0.
But the biggest disappointment for the day was the performance of local favourite and top seed Nicole Dzenga who crashed out in the quarters, falling to fifth seed Oleksandra Andrieieva of Ukraine.
Just like in the previous stage, Dzenga started slowly, losing the first set 7-6(4) before recovering to win the second round 4-6.
But while he managed to survive a second round scare, there was no such luck yesterday as the Ukrainian snatched the decisive third set 7-6(6) for the biggest upset of the day.
Andrieieva will now meet third seed Laila Elnimr in the first semis while the other semis will see Natsumi Okamoto of Japan and Habiba Lasheen of Egypt facing off today.
Courtney Lock (ZIM) bt Tadiwa Chinamo (ZIM) 6-3 6-3, Akram El Sallaly (EGY) bt Innocent Tidimane (BOTS) 7-6(4) 1-6, 6-2, Kareem Allaf (SRY) bt Simon Fiala (AUT) 6-0 6-4, Ouattara Gueninle (CIV) bt Alwyn Mushonga (ZIM) 7-5, 6-0.
Oleksandra Andrieieva (UKR) bt Nicole Dzenga (ZIM) 7-6(4) 4-6 7-6(6), Laila Elnimr (EGY) bt Sandra Friedl (AUT) 6-3 6-3, Natsumi Okamoto (JPN) bt Noa Nederpelt 6-3 6-4, Habiba Lasheen (EGY) bt Caroline Ilowska (AUT) 3-6 6-0 6-4.