Namibia: Ranaivo, Magarira Clinch Junior Tennis Titles

Toky Ranaivo of Madagascar and Rufaro Magarira of Zimbabwe won the boys and girls u16 titles at the ITF Southern African Regional Tennis Championships in Windhoek on Thursday.

The top-seeded Ranaivo beat the second-seeded Carl Roothman of South Africa in a tough three-setter, 6-1, 2-6, 10-7, while the second-seeded Magarira beat the fourth-seeded Kelly Arends of South Africa in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3.

The boys u14 final was won by the top seeded Denzel Seesto of Botswana who beat the second seeded Benedict Badza of Zimbabwe in a tough three-setter.

Badza edges the first set but Seetso immediately struck back to take the second set 6-0 before clinching the third set 10-6 to win the match.

It was Seetso's third u14 African title over the past year after previous successes in Kenya and Zimbabwe and he expressed satisfaction with his form after the match.

"I was a bit nervous to go the distance but I just kept my cool and my coach also helped me to relax. Its been a good tournament for me - I had some tough matches but I learnt a lot," he said.

The girls u14 final was an all-Madagascan affair with the fourth seeded Randy Rakotoarilala beating the second seeded Miotisoa 6-4, 6-1.

Namibian players didn't fare too well, with only Connor van Schalkwyk making it past the second round. He reached the semifinals in the Boys u16 singles category before losing 6-1, 7-6 to the eventual winner Roothman.

Van Schalkwyk went on to win the third place play-off against Connor Kruger of South Africa, 6-4, 6-0.

Besides Van Schalkwyk, Namibian players were not very successful, with only three others reaching the second round in their respective categories, namely Lisa Yssel (girls u16), Raico Coelho (girls u14) and Elsie Steers (girls u16).

"Our performances were below average but compared to previous years we improved slightly," the vice president of the Namibia Tennis Association, Clive Gawanab said.

"But the competition was tough and our players have gained valuable experience," he added.

The tournament served as a qualifier for the African Junior Championships, with the u14 championships taking place in South Africa and the u16 championships taking place in Tunisia.

ITF development officer Tapiwa Masunga said it was a very successful tournament.

"It's the first time that we have had all 12 southern African countries participating so that was a big plus. It was a big task to host about 120 children and 22 coaches but the organisation was good, the matches ran smoothly and the Namibia Tennis Association worked very hard to put on a good show," she said.

A second tournament, the Southern Africa Team Championships get underway on Friday and will continue through till next week.

A total of seven southern African countries will compete in the u16 boys and girls categories; nine in the u14 boys category and six in the u14 girls category.

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