ZIMBABWEAN tennis ace Takanyi Garanganga, whose dream of
taking part at this year’s Australia Open was shattered by lack of funds, made up for the disappointment by winning a career
seventh ITF Futures title in Los Angeles, California in the US on Sunday.
The 24-year-old rising star recovered from an opening set loss to beat Denmark’s Frederik Nielson 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in the final top capture the USTA Pro Circuit Long Beach Futures Tournament championship at El Dorado Park Tennis Center.
With the victory, Garanganga walked away with $2 160 from the tournament’s $15 000 prize-fund as well as 27 ranking points while the 2012 Wimbledon doubles champion, Nielson received$1 272 and 15 points as the losing finalist.
Garanganga had planned to qualify for this year’s Australian Open, but was unable to secure enough funding to take part in the high profile tournaments in the lead up to the year’s first grand slam which got underway in Melbourne on Sunday.
Ranked number 382 in the world prior to last week’s tournament Garanganga was made to work harder as he had to play through qualifying rounds due to entering the tournament late
Having travelled from Amsterdam where he was training, he missed the entry deadline and showed up last week to sign into qualifying needing a wild card.
Garanganga sat through two days of rain delays last Saturday and Sunday where not one ball was hit and then played and won every match he played for seven consecutive days, including two in qualifying and five in the main draw.
“I missed the deadline, but I had to come here anyway on my way to Maui for next week’s USTA Pro Circuit Challenger,” Garanganga told NewsDay Sport from his base in the US. “It was actually good for me to get the matches at the start of the year. I wasn’t playing very good at the beginning so it was good for me.”
“I just kept waiting for my chances. I was just playing in the moment and wasn’t thinking about past. I’m tired. I’m tired and my body is feeling it. But I will take a day off and then fly to Maui probably on Wednesday.”
The sixth-seeded Nielson took the first set tiebreaker, but the unseeded Garanganga responded by winning the next two. In the third, the first 10 games alternated between the players before Garanganga broke serve to buck the trend and close out the match with three straight game wins.
Garanganga, who was last week received an honourable mention in the 2014 Davis Cup MVP Awards will tomorrow head to Maui, Hawaii on Wednesday to compete in a Challenger Tour event over the weekend.