Talent and tenacity at Sanlam Junior tourney

Dickson Phiri in action. File photo

Riveting skills and determination was the hallmark of the T0523 Sanlam Tennis Tournament in Windhoek over the weekend.

The Namibia Tennis Association (NTA) commended participants for their “remarkable talent and sportsmanship”, which, along with Sanlam’s support, contributed to the event being “an outstanding success”.

The competition had categories from under-10 to under-25.

The men’s under-25 division stole the spotlight, featuring a remarkable standard of tennis and intense competition.

The top-seeded players dominated, securing their spots in the semi-finals, producing thrilling match-ups.

In an exciting first semi-final, the determined fourth-seeded Ruan Calitz triumphed over the top-seeded George Louw in a fiercely contested battle, clinching victory with scores of 7-6, 7-6.

Meanwhile, in the second semi-final, Dickson Phiri from Zambia showcased his exceptional skills, overpowering Juan Kuhn with commanding scores of 6-3, 6-3.

The final showdown between Calitz and Phiri captivated the crowd, as both players unleashed their aggressive style of play.

With powerful groundstrokes, well-placed volleys, and thunderous serves, they battled it out for glory.

Calitz took control in the first set, exhibiting superior form and claiming a 6-4 win.

However, the tide turned in the second set as Phiri displayed unwavering resilience, staging a comeback and forcing a tiebreak.

Phiri displayed nerves of steel to clinch the tiebreak with a score of 8-6, levelling the match at one set apiece.

The thrilling third set was settled by a super tiebreak, where Phiri’s experience and strategic play outmatched Calitz, leading to a hard-fought victory with a score of 10-7.

Calitz secured a well-deserved silver medal, while Juan Kuhn secured the bronze by defeating George Louw with scores of 6-4, 6-2.

In the under-10 boys’ category, Peter Gathuru emerged as the champion, overpowering Pameni Paulus with an impressive score of 8-2.

Shifishina Shimali claimed the bronze medal with a dominant 8-2 win over Cameron Tjihero.

Janice Bezuidenhout dominated the under-10 girls’ category, securing the gold medal, while Tadiwa Mombeyarara emerged victorious in the under-12 boys’ division.

The under-12 girls’ category witnessed fierce competition, with Linda Alemu emerging as the winner of Group A, and Emma Brinkmann dominating Group B.

In the final, Alemu’s remarkable prowess led her to a convincing victory over Brinkmann with scores of 6-3, 6-1, securing the gold medal.

Secilia Nghitewapo claimed the third-place position.

The under-14 boys’ division showcased Johan Theron’s dominance in Group A and Kyle Els’ triumph in Group B.

In a closely contested final, Theron emerged as the champion, defeating Abraham Alemu with scores of 6-3, 6-2.

Els secured the third-place position.

The under-14 girls’ final was a captivating battle between Joanivia Bezuidenhout and Mari van Schalkwyk.

Demonstrating their aggression, competitiveness, and consistency, they showcased their remarkable skills.

In the end, it was Van Schalkwyk who emerged as the gold medallist, securing victory with scores of 7-6 (7-4), with Natalia Ouses securing bronze.

The T0523 Sanlam NTA Tennis Tournament provided a platform for young tennis talents to showcase their skills and compete at various age levels.

“All participants earned valuable ranking points and displayed remarkable determination and sportsmanship. The NTA extends their gratitude to Sanlam for their many years of support,” organisers stated.

“Their valuable sponsorship keeps contributing to the success of our national tournaments and the development of tennis in Namibia.”

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