ZIMBABWE’S hopes of a local tennis singles champion at the ongoing Twenty Third Century Systems Futures Tournament were brought to an abrupt end after the two remaining hopefuls Mark Fynn and Tinashe Chikanda were knocked out in the second round of the singles competition at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Fynn, who carried Zimbabwe’s expectations by virtue of being the highest-ranked local in the field, came up short in his bid to qualify for the quarter-finals after a 6-3, 6-4 straight sets defeat to the second-seeded Antal van Duim of Netherlands.
Yesterday’s defeat brought Fynn’s campaign in the tournament to an end after a first round defeat in the doubles competition where he was partnering Kocyla Arkadiusz of Poland.
Another local hopeful Chikanda also crashed out of the competition after a 6-1, 6-3 loss to the eighth-seed Oscar Hernandez Perez of Spain.
Top-seed Boy Westerhof of Netherlands, who is the highest-ranked entrant in the tournament at position 256 on the world rankings remained on course after his opponent retired due to injury.
After surviving a huge scare in the first round against Kris van Wyk on Tuesday, Westerhof was leading 2-0 in the first set when Polish Arkadiusz retired.
South Africa’s Keith-Patrick Crowley, the runner-up at the 2012 edition of the same tournament bowed out of the competition after a 6-1, 6-4 defeat against France’s Arthur Surreaux.
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However, his compatriot Ruan Roelofse reached the quarter-finals after a hard-fought win against American Michael Grant, who put on a spirited display in the nail-biting contest before succumbing to a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (6) defeat.
Grant is coached by US-based former Zimbabwe Davis Cup player Zibusiso Ncube.
After this week’s Twenty Third Century Systems Futures Tournament players will shift their attention to the NetOne Futures tournament which runs from October 20 to 25 at the same venue.