ZIMBABWE top junior female tennis player Nicole Dzenga’s dream of clinching the ITF Central African Junior Circuit Zimbabwe II was blown to smithereens after she suffered a 6-1, 6-3 loss to third seed Tessah Andrianjafitrimo of France in the singles final at Harare Sports club yesterday.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
Seeded third, Dzenga offered a token of resistance against her more experienced opponent, who played through the pain of a thigh injury and appeared sloppy in the second set as the injury took its toll, but Dzenga failed to capitalise.
However, the Zimbabwean and her South African partner Alison Van Zyl, who were seeded first, emerged winners in the doubles final following the retirement of Andrianjafitrimo’s partner Rikeetha Pereira of India through injury in the first set on Friday.
Fighting back tears, Dzenga admitted that the French woman was superior to her.
“She has a lot of experience and was playing very well. I was making too many unforced errors in the match. I hope to continue playing more games so as to improve,” she said.
Her father Regis Dzenga, who also doubles as her coach said he was impressed with Nicole’s performance, despite the loss in the final.
“Throughout the tournament her serve has been impressive. She has been amazing up to today and it is just her opponent had more fighting spirit,” he said.
Andrianjafitrimo’s coach Teddy Andrianjafitrimo praised Nicole saying the 6-1, 6-3 result is not a reflection of her ability.
“She is a good player. It is just that Tessah is more experienced,” he said.
In the boys’ double’s final, top seeds Courtney Lock of Zimbabwe and his South African partner Lloyd Harris beat second seeds Aziz Dougaz and Karir Outtara 4-6, 6-3(10-3).
In the boys’ singles final Burundi’s Orly Iradukunda beat South Africa’s Brandon Laubser 6-2, 6-2.
Tennis Zimbabwe president Regis Bhunu said the tournament was a success.
“It has been a great tournament. We have upgraded the tournament to Grade Four which is tougher. Our challenge now is to increase the number of our kids who reach the quarter finals,” he said.
In the girls’ singles, only Dzenga progressed beyond the quarter final stage with Andrea Makamba, Karen Machisa, Latifah Yasini, Rumbidzai Ugaro, Tanaka Chakanyuka, Kundai Mushonga, Karen Muswere, Beverly Matsiwe and Zahra Fannigan all failing to progress.
That was the same situation in the boys’ singles tournament, with fourth seed Lock also failing to progress beyond the second round.