Big win for Chanakira in Bahrain

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ZIMBABWE Davis Cup player Tinotenda Chanakira recorded his biggest win of the season on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Men’s circuit after a first round upset victory over Bahrain’s highly-ranked Hasan Abdulnabi in Juffair on Tuesday.

BY DANIEL NHAKANISO

The 26-year-old player, who is ranked 2 172, stunned the home favourite Abdulnabi, who has a world ranking of 1 724 in three sets, 3-6, 7-5, 6-1 for his first main draw win on the circuit since October 2014.

Chanakira, who is also in the doubles quarter-finals of the same competition, was scheduled to pit against Slovenian player Tom Kocevar-Desman, who is ranked 500 in the world in the second round.

The inform player is also still in contention for the doubles title at the same competition after qualifying for the quarter-finals with Spanish playing partner Perez Hernandez.

The pair booked their place in the last eight courtesy of a 6-3, 6-3 straight set win over the all-Bahrain pair of Yusuf Qaed and Khalid Almosawi.

While Chanakira’s form in the singles looks to have improved significantly, it is his form in the doubles which could boost the Zimbabwe Davis Cup team ahead of their Euro/Africa Group II relegation playoff tie against Moldovia in July.

A former student at Heritage School before moving to his current base in Barcelona, Spain, Chanakira, was part of the team which earned promotion in Egypt last year, but was left out of the Davis Cup team which lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina early this month.

However, after his recent performances, Chanakira looks set for a return to the side ahead of the Moldovia playoff tie which Zimbabwe will need to win for them to retain their place in Euro Africa Group II for 2016.

The loser of the crucial tie will drop to Euro/Africa Group III and Zimbabwe will be desperate not to go down again, having waited for eight years to secure promotion last year.