Gaborone — Zimbabwean tennis star, Mehluli Sibanda is the 2018 Motor Centre Botswana Open Championship winner, after beating Lefa Sibanda 6-2, 6-3 in men's singles at Notwane Tennis Courts on July 18.
Mehluli showed intension of winning the coveted title during the entire four-day tournament, beating the defending champion, Edgar Kazembe 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 in the quarter-finals.
In the semi finals, Mehluli edged out his fellow countryman, Mark Chigaazira with 6-4, 6-3 to proceed to the finals.
Lefa also had good games prior to the finals as he outclassed Best Ndebele of Zimbabwe 7-6, 6-2 in the quarter-finals.
He continued with his good performance in the semi finals against Liberty Nzula of Zimbabwe recording 5-7, 6-4, and 7-6 wins.
However, during the mouthwatering final, Mehluli was more aggressive and also capitalised on Lefa's mistakes who looked very nervous particularly in the first set.
However, Lefa came back better in the second set, but Mehluli had already upped the tempo of the game, making it difficult for his opponent to adjust.
In an interview, Lefa said he lost the game because he started a bit slow, and Mehluli took advantage of his slow pace. He said his opponents came very aggressive in the beginning going for shots, which were very effective.
" Like I said, I did start slow, but in the second set I played much better, I was a bit calm up until 3-2 and I lost focus and that was when he was able to edge me," he said.
Mehluli said he was happy that he won the 2018 Motor Centre Botswana Open Championship on his debut, adding that the finals were very competitive.
He said the competition gave him enough practice since he would be going to Portugal to compete at the F13 Futures competition in two weeks time.
"I think I was more aggressive. I know Lefa and how he plays, so mine was to just focus and win the game," he said.
In ladies single, Vanya Klaric was crowned the champion after beating Nthabiseng Ngosa of Lesotho 6-1, 6-1.
The men doubles were won by Raymond Jasi and Malcom Mutungamiri after edging out Liberty Nzula and Edgar Kazember 2-6, 6-4, 10-4 to be crowned the champions. In the ladies doubles, Pulane Monyatsi and Nthabiseng Ngosana were crowned the champions after beating Anele Maplanka and Thato Madikwe 6-0, 6-4.
The tournament was sponsored by Motor Centre and men single's champion won P10 000 while runner-up got P6 000 with semi finalists P4 000.
The men doubles' champions won P3 000, while runner-ups got P2 000, while semi-finalists won P1 250 each.
The ladies single's champion went away P8 000 richer while the runner-up got P5 000 and semi-finalists P2 000.
The ladies doubles' champions got P4 000 while runner-ups got P2 000 and semi finalist won P500
Botswana Tennis Association spokesperson Shelton Benzah said the tournament was competitive and they did not encounter any hiccups.
Source : BOPA