Sibanda rises to sec­ond in Africa

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

YOUNG ten­nis ace, Ethan Sibanda is now ranked sec­ond in Africa in the 14 years and un­der sec­tion af­ter clinch­ing the ITF/ CAT In­ter­na­tional 14 and un­der Tour­na­ment last Satur­day in Al­ge­ria.

The win over Egypt’s Ali Omar Khaled (6-3, 6-3) Grade 1 event saw him earn 1 000 points and move from po­si­tion seven to sec­ond be­hind Morocco’s Hamza El Amine on the con­ti­nent in the 14 and un­der rank­ings.

Sibanda (14) also reached the dou­bles semi-fi­nals of the event with part­ner, Mar­i­ano Kpodeziaou of Benin los­ing to South Africa’s Nel Anro who part­nered with Namibia’s Conor Van Schalk­wyk, 5-7, 6-2 (10-3)

El Amine has been at the helm of the rank­ings since be­gin­ning of the year and is now on 6692.5 points while Sibanda has a to­tal of 3557.5 points and is likely to add on to his tally af­ter this week­end as on Fri­day he had reached the semi-fi­nals of the Africa Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships that were also be­ing played in Al­ge­ria and were sched­uled to end yes­ter­day.

Sibanda was pro­pelled to the top by per­for­mances at this year’s ITF/ CAT African Ju­nior Team Cham­pi­onships (AJTC) held in Tu­nisia in June where he raked in 1200 points and at the ITF/ CAT African Ju­nior Cham­pi­onships for 14 and un­der on hard court 2018 played in South Africa in March.

His ex­cur­sion to Europe where he played in five tour­na­ments also saw him earn­ing some points de­spite strug­gling and fail­ing to go through the sec­ond round in most of the events.

Ethan’s coach and fa­ther, Tendai Sibanda said he was de­lighted with the player’s rise and was look­ing for­ward to him bet­ter­ing his per­for­mances as he fea­tures in more tour­na­ments.

“I re­alised that his fit­ness lev­els were not up to scratch when he was in Europe hence we worked on that area when he re­turned be­fore head­ing to Al­ge­ria and this has turned out to be his ace as he has done ex­tremely well.

“I think he is also fac­ing a dif­fer­ent set of op­po­nents in a dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment so he was likely to per­form much dif­fer­ently from how he did in Europe,” he said.

Mean­while, fe­male ace, Ni­cole Matuku­tire is hold­ing her own as she main­tained her num­ber five rank­ing on the con­ti­nent in the 14 and un­der girls’ sec­tion af­ter ex­it­ing last week’s tour­na­ment in the quar­ter fi­nals.

Matuku­tire’s su­perb per­for­mances dur­ing the ITF/ CAT African Ju­nior Cir­cuit events that were held in Zim­babwe in July pro­pelled her as she moved from num­ber 26 on the con­ti­nent to fifth.

Be­fore the two events, she had 640 points and moved to 2 340 points by the end of July and in the lat­est rank­ings re­leased last Mon­day, Matuku­tire had added 260 points to her tally to main­tain her po­si­tion.

Matuku­tire man­aged to reach the fi­nals of the dou­bles of the Grade One tour­na­ment in Al­ge­ria af­ter part­ner­ing South Africa’s Suzanie Pre­to­ri­ous.

Ethan Sibanda

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