THE juniors dominated at the NTA Senior Tournament over the weekend with Daniel Jauss and Taimi Nashiku winning the singles titles.
The 15-year-old Jauss beat the second-seeded Risto Shikongo 6-3, 7-5 to win the men's singles title, while the 18-year-old Nashiku beat Larushka Kruger 6-0, 6-2 to win the women's title.
The unseeded Jauss pulled off some major upsets on his way to the final, showing great perseverance, as he won two tough three-setters.
In the quarterfinals he beat the third-seeded Deon van Dyk 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, while he beat Hennie Bergh 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals. Bergh had earlier knocked out the top-seeded Dantago Gawanab 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Shikongo had an easier passage to the final, beating the veteran Michau Basson 7-5, 6-1 in the quarterfinals and Ronaldo Uirab 6-2, 6-2 in the semifinals.
In the final, both players started erratically, having their service games broken regularly, but Jauss held the edge with his big serve and powerful groundstrokes to win the first set 6-3.
In the second set Shikongo broke Jauss' serve early on to take a 3-0 lead, but then fell heavily and injured his ankle when he tried to reach a drop shot. He received medical treatment and managed to continue playing, but it seemed that his movement was affected.
Shikongo, however, once again broke Jauss' serve to take a 5-2 lead, but the momentum then swung to Jauss as he launched a great comeback.
Making Shikongo run with long rallies interspersed with some fine drop shots, Jauss won the next five matches in a row to take the set 7-5 and the match by two sets to love.
After the match, Jauss said he had to be at the top of his game.
"I think I played really well. Risto also played well and made it tough for me, especially when he went up 5-2 in the second set. I really had to stay focussed and stay aggressive to win the match," he said.
It was the second senior title that he had won and he said he was now ready to compete against the seniors.
Ï think I can give them a go. I had a really tough draw, playing Deon van Dyk and Hennie Bergh, so it was hard work, but I'm really happy with the result."
Shikongo said he was disappointed with his performance although he refused to blame it on his ankle injury.
Ï wouldn't say the injury contributed to my defeat, I actually started playing better then and went 5-2 up, but then I lost my focus and lost the match," he said.
Nashiku had a much easier victory in the women's competition after dropping only five games throughout the tournament.
In the round robin section she beat Elizabeth Kalili 6-0, 6-1, and Elia Kambonde 6-0, 6-0, while she beat Vimbayi Musavengana 6-1, 6-1 in the semifinals.
In the final, Nashiku attacked from the start, racing into a 6-0 lead, and although Kruger provided tougher resistance in the second set, Nashiku was in control to win the set 6-2.
Kruger had earlier beaten Vimbayi Musavengana 6-2, 6-1; Odysia Karaerua 6-0, 6-1 and Nicola Nitschke 6-1, 6-1 in the group matches, and Elia Kambonde 6-0, 6-1 in the semifinals.
It was Nashiku's first senior victory and she said she was looking forward to winning some more senior titles.
"It was a good match. I started off comfortably enough, but in the second set she was a bit tougher to play. I feel good to have won my first senior title and now Im looking forward to winning some more," she said.