Sibanda storms into ITF South/Central finals
EIGHTH seed Mehluli Sibanda turned on a remarkable show yesterday as he stormed into today’s finals of the ongoing ITF South/Central junior circuit after beating top seed Alastair Gray at Harare Sports Club.
Sibanda powered to a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Great Britain’s Gray as he pulled another upset yesterday.
On Thursday he defeated Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, seeded fourth, 3-6, 7-6(5), 6-0 on his way to the semifinals.
The 15-year-old is the only local player remaining on course in the tournament.
Things were not looking good for Sibanda in the first set as he was 0-4 down but he managed to turn the tables to come back into the game and take the set 7-5.
He then went on to win the second set in a tightly contested match as both players displayed some good tennis.
However, a couple of good serves, drop shots from Sibanda and some errors on his opponent’s part saw the Zimbabwean player coming out of the match victorious.
The South Africa-based player could not hide his joy and said the win on Thursday against Abdel-Aziz boosted his confidence.
“I feel amazing, it’s a great feeling beating the top seed, the confidence I have now is just amazing. It actually prepared me because it boosted my confidence to come and play well today.
“Yesterday, I worked on my serve because my coach said I must work on serves because that guy was attacking my serve.
“I enjoyed the match very much, first set I was 4-0 down and then I don’t know what happened, the guy started making mistakes as well.
“I always believed I could win. I think it just happens, I start playing well when I’m down. It’s a tough match as well tomorrow, “said Sibanda.
He will fight for the honours against ninth seed Luke Hammond of Great Britain and hopes are high he will raise the country’s flag high.
The girls’ finals will feature third seed Celestine Avomo Ella from Gabon and Morocco’s Diae El Jardi.
Avomo Ella beat top seed Nicole Petchey in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 while El Jardi dismissed Ghita Benhadi 6-2, 6-2. WE are unable to run your favourite column “Weekend Whispers” today. It returns on Saturday next week. — Editor