ZIMBABWE tennis ace Takanyi Garanganga won his first professional single's title on home soil after beating South African Keith Crowley in the finals of the US$10 000 23rd Century Systems ITF Futures One Circuit at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Seeded first, Garanganga took one hour 40 minutes to beat the sixth seeded South African 6-3, 7-6 (8) in an exciting final that, sadly, was watched by a poor crowd.
Yesterday's victory brought to three the number of singles titles after winning the Turkey Futures 35 and 36 in September.
The United States of America- based Garanganga was nearly punished for too many unforced errors, especially in the second set in which he had to win after a tie break.
He attributed yesterday's victory to the support he received from fans throughout the week.
"The build-up to the tournament was brilliant. I had tough matches from the quarterfinal stage, but soldiered on. It feels nice to win my first title on home soil. The fans were fantastic and I hope some youngsters, especially ball boys, will be inspired by this victory. I was once a ball boy and I know how it feels," said Garanganga, who pocketed US$1 300.
His coach Ronald Agenor said he has noticed some aspects in Garanganga's game that needed to be worked on.
"Though he was seeded first, he faced some tough opponents," he said.
Crowley, who struggled with his forehand, attributed his loss to the poor start he had in the first set.
"TK is a good player and there is nothing you can do when playing a player with such good serves. I have played him before and I know how good he is. I would want to thank tennis fans who were fantastic throughout the week," he said.
Crowley, who on Friday had teamed up with longtime friend Ruan Roelofse, came from a set down to beat the unseeded pair of Joel Kincaid and Evan Song 3-6, 6-3 (10-5) in the doubles final.
However, Garanganga did not have it easy as he had to go past third seed Roelfse 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the semifinals.
Garanganga's compatriot, Mark Fynn, who brewed a shocker in the first round after beating second seeded Italian Alesandro Bega 7-6, (5), 7-6 (5), made a quarter final exit after losing 7-6 (5), 6-2 to Crowley.
Tinotenda Chanakira found the going tough in the second round while Malcom Mutungamiri could not go beyond the first round.
TZ vice-president Regis Bhunu said it was good that a Zimbabwean player had won the tournament.
"We would want to have as many kids participating in these tournaments for them to earn points," he said.
The Futures tournament -- the entry point to professional tennis where players earn points for a better ITF ranking -- is being held in Zimbabwe for the first time in seven years.