Zim junior tennis star knocked out in IFT quarter-finals

Zim junior tennis star

ZIMBABWE’S only hope in the boys’ singles first leg of the 18 and Under J5 Bulawayo International Tennis Federation (ITF) South Central Circuit, Thomson Thomu fell 5-7, 3-6 in the quarter-finals to Austrian Thilo Behrmann at Bulawayo Country Club yesterday.

Thomu (16) started playing juniors tennis at the age of nine and is ranked 1 306 in the ITF Junior Charts with a 53% win rate from 16 wins and 14 losses.

To get to the quarter-finals, the 16-year-old Masvingo tennis ace, seeded sixth in the tournament, eased past Tavis Wright of England 6-3, 6-2 in the first round on Tuesday before another brilliant performance in the second round in which he despatched Botswana’s Seabo Saleshando 6-2, 6-0 on Wednesday.

Michael Happy who had cruised past the first round after overcoming Katlego Regoeng of Botswana 6-4, 6-1 bowed out to Zimbabwe-born Serbian player Marko Milosavljevic 0-6, 1-6 in the second round.

Milosavljevic is the top seed in the tournament and rallied behind Thomu in the latter’s quarter-final bid.

The two were due to play in the doubles semi-finals against the South African pair of Connor Doig and Joseph Townes late yesterday.

The other boys’ hope Thabani  Nhokwara fell to an Austrian Jan Hemetzberger 5-7, 1-6 in the second round with the others crashing out in the first round.

Former Davis Cup captain and tennis coach Martin Dzuwa said he was impressed by the performance.

“It is good to have such a tournament. I think we have had two before and then we had three in Harare as well. It is good for our local players for the rankings. It’s tough to travel always, so to have these tournaments around them and showing their potential is good. Even the level of play has gone up since these tournaments were introduced. We appreciate the job that Tennis Zimbabwe is doing,” Dzuwa said.

In the girl’s section, Zimbabwe’s Zahara El-zein lost to South African Isabella Basson 2-6, 1-6 in the second round, having trounced compatriot Julie Tungamirai 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

Ruvarashe Magarira had edged Botswana’s Nina Sekonopo 6-2, 6-2 in the first round, but could not go through to the quarter-finals after losing 1-6, 0-6 to South Africa’s Amike Botha in the second round.

Koronayashe Rugare, who plays for the United States of America, where she is based, parcelled out Zimbabwean Thandiwe Nkala with a 6-1, 6-2 win in the second round after the latter had a good first round, beating Mbali Qame of Botswana 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 on her way to the first round.

Another local, Tinotenda Chikapfacha, also lost to South African Kaitlyn Leigh Ramduth 3-6, 0-6 in the second round.

Girls Tatenda Chingonzo and Tawananyasha Musiyiwa lost to 2-6, 2-6 to France’s Iriela Rajaobelina and South Africa’s Ramduth in the doubles’ quarter-finals, while El-zein and her Kenyan partner Melisa Mwakha also lost Amike and Carle Botha 1-6, 3-6 in the same stage of the competition.

Tungamirai and Chanelle Zhuwakini lost Basson (SA) and Rugara (USA) 2-6, 2-6 in the quarter-finals.

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