ZIMBABWE’S Ethan Sibanda put up a remarkable show yesterday at the ongoing International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tour, Juniors tournament at Harare Sports Club to advance to the quarter-finals when he beat Sweden’s Kevin Edengren 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.
Sibanda is one of the top ranked local players taking part in the tournament running until Saturday.
It attracted players from different countries across the globe and is the second international event Tennis Zimbabwe is holding since March.
The first event was held last week in Bulawayo and Sibanda also took part. He reached the finals and was supposed to take on Edengren but the matches could not be played because of rain.
But as fate had it, the two players met yesterday in the second round of the ongoing tournament and it was a closely-contested tie.
Sibanda had to dig deep after Edengren took the second set to push the match into the third and final set.
“I feel happy now because the guy is good so I had to put more effort to win the match. In my first round I didn’t play really well, so I thought I was going to lose today. I had to believe in myself so that I could win the match.
“After this win I think I am going to be in the final because it’s a tough win for me, so I need to progress a bit more and go to the semis or finals,” said Sibanda.
It was also a good day for another Zimbabwean player Chelsea Chakanyuka as she overpowered Siddhi Khot 6-1, 6-4 in straight sets to progress to the quarter-finals as well in the girls section.
Chakanyuka will be hoping to prevail again today after most local players bowed out in the first and second round.
Some of Zimbabwe’s hopefuls at the tournament, Tsitsi Mahere and Tadiwanashe Mauchi, retired due to injuries on Monday. It was a disappointment for Mauchi, who reached the finals of the first tournament in Bulawayo last week.
TZ president, Biggie Magarira, said they appreciate the support they are getting from the Government through the Sports Commission as they are one of the 32 associations approved to resume activities so far.
And is pleased they have a number of players from across the world participating at the ongoing event.
The tournament that got underway on Monday had some first round matches as well as second round played yesterday as some of the matches were disrupted by the rains on Tuesday.
The tournament attracted players South Africa, USA, Kenya, Netherlands, India, Belgium, Egypt, Russia, Switzerland and Israel.
“We thought it was not going to be a success, we just thought it was going to be a closed tournament with Zimbabweans. But surprisingly we actually have a massive turnout and we had to play qualifiers.
“So it shows we are doing well and our hospitality they believe in us, and they came. We are maintaining Covid-19 regulations specified by the Government. Looking at the results from last week, we had our players in the finals. It’s unfortunate the finals were not played but they will share the points.
“We had Tadiwanashe Mauchi in the (girls) finals, we had Ethan Sibanda in the (boys) finals.
“And we had a lot of girls in the semis and boys in the quarterfinals. So a lot of our players got points last week but this week it has become tougher,” said Magarira.