TOP-ranked Zimbabwe tennis player Takanyi Garanganga has been seeded fifth at next week’s US$10 000 23rd Century Systems ITF Futures Tournament to be held at Harare Sports Club.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
The all-male tournament runs from November 26 to December 1.
However, the tournament might have been robbed of some gloss following the withdrawal of 100 players, notably the top International Tennis Federation (ITF)-ranked French trio of Pirre-Huques Herbert (281), Jules Marie (334) and Yannick Jankovist (397).
The withdrawal has seen players ranked outside the top 1 000 making it to the main draw without playing in the qualifying rounds.
Zimbabwe’s Mark Fynn, ranked 1 236 on ITF, is one such beneficiary as he would no longer play in the qualifying tournament and is now seeded 11th in the main draw.
Tennis Zimbabwe (TZ) administrator, Cliff Nhokwara downplayed the withdrawals insisting that the tournament would still be exciting.
“Withdrawals are normal in these competitions as players would have realised that their chances of earning points in that tournament are slim. They would also have looked at the cost of coming to Zimbabwe, especially those coming from European countries. “There are still good players because not much movement has taken place in the main draw. It is the qualifying draw that has been affected much,” he said.
The absence of top players is likely to work in the favour of Garanganga, who would be hoping on cashing in on home support.
Garanganga recently won his maiden career professional singles title in Turkey when he won the back-to-back legs of the F36 Futures tournament.
He would however have to contain with first seed Suk-Jeong of Korea, who is ranked at position 368, second seeded Antoine Benneteau (454) and third seed Alessandro Bega of Italy.
Fourth seeded South African Ruan Roelofse, who is number 469 on the ITF rankings, is also another threat to Garanganga’s claim to the title.
Garanganga’s compatriots: Tino Chanakira, Simba Mtetwa and Muzingaye Sibanda, would have to go through the qualifying stages of the tournament.
The single qualifying matches would be played on November 24 and 25 with the signing on date being November 23.
The Futures tournament — the entry point to professional tennis where players earn points for a better ITF ranking — is being held in Zimbabwe for the first time in seven years.