No surprises at ITF tourney
The top seeds sailed through to the second round of the singles competition with tournament second seed, Clement Morrel of France, proving too powerful for Slovakia’s unseeded Matus Horecny with a 6-3, 6-2 win.
Seventh-seeded Benjamin Janse van Rensburg from South Africa easily beat Jeswin Jolly of the US 6-2, 6-2.
Only unseeded Phillippe de Bonnevie of Britain pulled a shocker when he outplayed American Charles Robert Viale 6-0, 6-3.
Another top seed, Romanian Christian Hodel, despatched Justin Visser of South Africa 7-6(7), 7-5. Both players were unseeded.
Russia’s Dmitry Sventitskiy beat Ross Connolly of the UK 6-0, 6-0 in another match featuring unseeded players.
Namibia’s Jurgens Strydom, ranked 1, 273 in the world, was seeded number 10 for the tournament and did not disappoint when he teamed up with tournament’s number one player, Bogdan-Victor Leone of Romania, to beat Andrew Howe of Australia and Gregory Howe of England 6-2, 6-1 in the doubles. Bogdan-Victor Leone is ranked 728 in the world and produced some pacy serves.
The week-long ITF Futures tournament ends today. Among other world top-ranked players who kept the fans on the edge of their seats were Frenchman Morrel, who is ranked 819 in the world and was second seed; Talal Ouahabi of Mauritius, ranked 946 in the world, and third seed ahead of Auld Jallali of Tunisia, who is ranked 1, 034 in the world; and Mustafa Ghouse of India, the fifth seed ahead of Jones Fulford.
Namibia received three wildcards that were allocated to Jurgens Strydom, Johan Theron and Charlton Diergaardt, with Theron beating Alex Johnston of Britain 6-4, 6-4, and Charlton Diergaardt losing 6-0, 6-2 to Amadeus Eulford Jones of Slovakia.
The top-seeded pair in the doubles also made their way to the second round. Ghouse of India and Christian Hodel of Romania beat the Namibian pair of Charlton Diergaardt and Henco Serdyn 6-2, 6-2 while the third seeds, Justin Visser of South Africa and Richard Ruckelshause of Austria beat Troy Gillham of Australia and Gregg le Sueur of South Africa 7-5, 3-6, 6-1. Alexei Filenkov of Russia and Henrik Soderberg of Ghana beat Jeswin Jolly and Paul Warkentin of the US 7-6, 6-1.
Tournament director Warren Frewer said the first round singles matches produced more electrifying tennis than expected.
Namibia’s MTC (Mobile Telecommunications) sponsored the event to the tune of US$80 000.
“Namibia has been successfully presenting international tennis tournaments with MTC as sponsoring partner during the past few years. This resulted in the International Tennis Federation’s request for Namibia to host the first Futures tournament in Southern Africa this year,” the Namibia Tennis Association said in a statement.
The players are expected to move to Botswana next week and will finish off the tourney in South Africa during the last week of October.
International Futures tournaments are scheduled for a minimum of three consecutive weeks in a region with a prize money tag of US$10 000/US$15 000 for each tournament.
The winners will receive prize money to the tune of US$10 000 jointly sponsored by MTC and the ITF.