Tennis the winner in ITF tourney

ZIMBABWEAN tennis was once again the winner when for the second time in three weeks the country’s best players battled it out in the final of the International Tennis Federation Futures tournament at Harare Sports Club yesterday.

Takanyi Garanganga saw off compatriot Ben Lock 6-1, 6-4 in an ITF Futures 3 final that marked the conclusion of this year’s ITF Futures tournaments in Harare.

This was the second meeting between the two Davis Cup players in the final as they faced off again in the first week with Lock emerging victorious.

Davis Cup captain Gwinyai Tongoona enjoyed the rare luxury of watching all his national team boys, including rookies Mehluli Sibanda and Mark Chigaazira, in action over the last three weeks.The 44-year-old coach, however, insists he was a distant observer during the Futures weeks.

“It’s been a good effort from all the guys,” he said.

“This was an individual tournament, , so you don’t want to be too much involved. For Takanyi and Benjamin, these tournaments will help them to get more points to try and play more challengers.

“The younger guys, Courtney, Mehluli and Mark, are trying to get up in the rankings. Mehluli has done really well and picked up points.

“Courtney has done well in doubles and also picked up singles points. I think it was also a good experience for some of the juniors like (Tanaka) Chabata and Thabo Ncube, who took part in the tournaments.

“The tougher the tournaments they play on tour, the better. They will be able to compete with some of the tougher teams in our (Davis Cup) group.”

Speaking after the win, Garanganga, who is set to play Challengers tournaments in USA in July, said he is now a “mature” player.

“Sometimes my adjustments haven’t been the best all the time, but now I think I am a bit more mature, I kind of know how to navigate through the different terrain,” he said.

Ben Lock and his sibling Courtney, who won all three doubles titles in the Futures tournament, will be playing in Europe in July.

Ben revealed that he is heading to Portugal a content man.

“The last match doesn’t determine how it has been in the last three weeks.

“I am thrilled, especially with the doubles winning. This is really a great achievement for Courtney and myself. I will really be happy getting on the plane heading to Portugal,” he said.

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