Namibia off to winning start

The Namibian Davis Cup team, from left: Steyn Dippenaar, Connor van Schalkwyk, Nguvi Hinda, Gert Dippenaar (coach), Daniel Jauss and Codie van Schalkwyk. Photo: contributed

Namibia’s national men’s tennis team got off to a winning start at their Africa Group III Davis Cup tournament in Pretoria, South Africa yesterday when they beat Zimbabwe 2-1 in their opening match. 

Namibia’s top-ranked player Connor van Schalkwyk beat Zimbabwe’s Benedict Badza 6-3, 6-4, but Zimbabwe drew level when Benjamin Lock beat Connor’s brother Codie van Schalkwyk 6-3, 6-0 in the second singles match. 

The tie-decider came down to the doubles encounter between the Van Schalkwyk brothers and Lock and Badza, and the Namibian pair took the honnours in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4.

It was a fine start by Namibia who are ranked 81st in the world compared to Zimbabwe’s 72nd ranking. 

The other teams in Group B are Benin (ranked 78th), and Senegal (ranked 96th in the world), while Group A consists of South Africa (ranked 67th), Ivory Coast (79), Algeria (85) and Togo (107). 

The top three teams at the end of the tournament will be promoted to the Davis Cup World Group II, while the bottom two teams will be relegated to Africa Group IV.

Benin, meanwhile, also got off to a winning start in Group B after beating Senegal 2-1 yesterday. 

Benin won both their singles matches,before forfeiting the doubles encounter. 

Sylvestre Monnou beat Yannick Languina 6-2, 6-4, while Loic Didavi beat Seydina Andre 6-3, 6-4. 

In Pool A matches yesterday, South Africa and Togo got off to winning starts after beating Algeria and the Ivory Coast respectively. 

South Africa beat Algeria 3-0, with Devin Badenhorst beating Toufik Sahtali 6-2, 7-6, and Philip Henning beating Samir Hamza Reguig 6-1, 6-0 in the singles matches, while Henning and Christiaan Worst beat Sahtali and Reguig 6-3, 6-3 in the doubles. 

Togo beat the Ivory Coast 2-1, with Komlavi Loglo beating Alex Lago 6-1, 6-2; before the Ivory Coast’s Eliakim Coulibaly beat Thomas Setodji 6-1, 6-3 to level the tie. 

The deciding doubles encounter went down to the wire before Togo’s Loglo and Setodji emerged victorious with a 7-6, 5-7, 7-5 victyory against Coulibaly and Lago. 

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