21 December 2012

Namibia Dominates Fasu Games Tennis

CHAMP ... Jean Erasmus plays a volley during his three-set victory against Yasri Hichem of Algeria yesterday.

NAMIBIA dominated the tennis competition at the FASU Games after winning the men and women's singles titles as well as the men's consolation plate final yesterday.

With Namibia already having won the men and women's doubles titles and the women's consolation plate singles title, it meant that Namibia had taken all the titles on offer except for the mixed doubles title and the men's consolation plate final that Algeria won.

In yesterday's men's singles final, Jean Erasmus beat Yasri Hichem of Algeria 6-0, 5-7, 6-3, while Riekie Honiball of Namibia beat compatriot Imke Jagau 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the women's singles final.

In the men's singles final, Erasmus got off to a great start, but Hichem fought back well to take the second set. In the deciding third set, Erasmus got an early service break and maintained his lead until the end to win the match.

Erasmus said he started off well before nerves got the better of him in the second set.

"In the first set I felt like I was cruising, everything was working, my serves were big, and with my forehand I was just hitting winners left, right and centre. But then the other player got lucky, he started winning a few shots here and there and then all of a sudden he's playing well and you're under pressure and thats what happened in that second set," he said.

"But luckily I managed to take a toilet break and calmed my nerves and then I got back into it in the third set. I got a service break right away and from then on I just played solid and did what I had to do, and it paid off so I got the win," he added.

Erasmus said the title meant a lot to him.

"It's very special being here at home and playing in front of my parents and friends for the first time in many years. Playing in front of the whole Namibian crowd was extremely special and everyone was so enthusiastic and it definitely motivated me on court, just to keep playing at my best. I know this win will give me confidence and keep me motivated to just keep on training through the holidays," he said.


In the women's singles final, Jagau got off to a good start, but Honiball's experience started to tell as she gained control with her steady groundstrokes and consistent serve, while Jagau made too many unforced errors.

Honiball said she was not concerned after losing the first set.

"Imke is a good starter and she played really well. I think both of us were nervous in the first set and she handled the pressure better than I did. But my coach always told me that you just need to win two sets, so I just focussed on the next two sets after losing the first one," she said.

"This was the first time that I actually played in the African Student Games so a first time medal is always way more special than anything else. I'm just proud that Namibia did very well, the men also did well and regardless of who won between me and Imke, it would have been Namibia so that's a good thing," she said.

Namibia also won the men's doubles tournament after Jean Erasmus and Henco Serdyn beat Zambia 6-3, 6-4 and Algeria 6-3, 6-4. In the women's doubles competition, Riekie Honiball and Imke Jagau won the gold medal after they beat Algeria 6-4, 6-3 and Botswana 6-0, 6-1.

Algeria however won gold in the mixed doubles competition after beating the Namibian team of Eric Verburg and Carita Moolman 7-6, 7-6, while they also won the men's consolation plate final, with Yasser Bouchareb beating Eric Verburg 3-6, 6-4, 8-6.

In the women's consolation plate final, Carita Moolman of Namibia beat Madisa Tumisang of Botswana 6-0, 6-1.

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