Sibanda rises to second in Africa
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.