Sibanda sails through to ITF quar­ter-fi­nals

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - El­lina Mhlanga Harare Bureau

ZIM­BABWE’S top ranked ju­nior player, Mehluli Sibanda pulled through to to­day’s sin­gles quar­ter­fi­nals of the on-go­ing In­ter­na­tional Ten­nis Fed­er­a­tion 18 and Un­der South Cen­tral Cir­cuit Leg 1 af­ter beat­ing Lley­ton Cronje from South Africa yes­ter­day at Harare Sports Club.

The event, which started on Mon­day is one of the three tour­na­ments run­ning un­til Au­gust 19.

Sibanda seeded sec­ond for this tour­na­ment beat Cronje 6-3, 6-3 in straight sets to cruise to the quar­ter­fi­nals.

The South Africa-based player ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with his per­for­mance so far in the tour­na­ment and added that he ex­pects a tough match to­day against fifth seed Philip Henning.

“It’s been good, I am play­ing well. I like play­ing here at home, it feels nice with the crowd and the sup­port.

“I have a tough match to­mor­row. I am hop­ing I can win but it’s go­ing to be a tough match. I have played him be­fore, I beat him but it was tough. So I am hop­ing the same thing could hap­pen.

“I know his game I have played him three times now,” said Sibanda.

Sibanda, ranked 249 on the ITF rank­ings said he is hop­ing to im­prove on his rank­ings and win at least one of the events.

“I am hop­ing maybe af­ter these tour­na­ments I could fin­ish in the top 100 if I do well. I am also hop­ing that I could win be­cause I have not won ITF, I just lose in the fi­nal,” said Sibanda.

Henning dis­missed Ab­doul Kabura 6-2, 6-0 to se­cure his place in the quar­ter-fi­nals.

In the girls sec­tion Kim­berly Bhunu, who was the only Zim­bab­wean player, still in the run­ning by yes­ter­day, went down to top seed Ner­meen Shawky 6-2, 2-6, 3-6 in the sec­ond round.

She also lost the dou­bles match with her part­ner Zara lost 2-6, 4-6 to the pair of Mau­ri­tius Lilya Hadab and Nat­sumi Kawaguchi.

Bhunu, how­ever, re­mains op­ti­mistic of the other two up­com­ing events.

“The more tough matches you play then the bet­ter you will be­come. I am not go­ing to lose in the sec­ond round again. I am go­ing to work on the things that I think I am not do­ing so well on in the match.

“I think my prob­lem is men­tal­ity, like how to play on cer­tain points in cer­tain sit­u­a­tions and to make the right de­ci­sions on those sit­u­a­tions, I need to im­prove more.

“So the more matches I play the bet­ter it will be­come,” Bhunu said.

Zim­babwe had 11 play­ers in the boys sin­gles and 5 in the girls sec­tion and most of them bowed out in the first and sec­ond rounds.

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