Young tennis talent on display
11 April 2021 | Sports
The tournament took place in Windhoek and 70 players aged u/10 to u/18 participated in singles and doubles matches at the Central Tennis Courts, SKW and Namibian Police Courts.
The biggest surprise of the weekend came as 10-year-old Israel Dowie took gold in the boys u/16 division. Dowie currently lives in Cape Town where he attends the Anthony Harris High-Performance Tennis Academy for aspiring young tennis players. This sacrifice is paying off, as Dowie has progressed from coming third in last year’s Sanlam Tournament in the boys u/14 division to coming out top this round. Dowie has been participating in the Cape Town Tennis Mini u/12 tournaments this year and won the last three tournaments consecutively.
In the quarterfinals, Dowie beat fourth-seeded Stephan Koen 6-4, 6-1. He then had to fight his way past Oliver Leicher (seeded first) in the semi-final. Great tennis was on display as both players made few mistakes. In the end, it was Dowie who kept up the pressure and won 6-2, 6-3 to proceed to the finals.
Another promising youngster, 2nd seeded 12-year-old Ruben Yssel, beat 3rd seeded Ruben Nel in the semi-finals 6-1, 6-4 to meet Dowie in the finals. Dowie started with great momentum and won the first set 6-1. Yssel got his nerves under control and fought back in the second set. The match was characterised by super long rallies of 30 strokes or more, a variety of powerful groundstrokes and very steady tennis with few mistakes.
Both players played excellent tactical tennis,which only proves that Namibia’s junior tennis is an upward spiral. In the end, it was Dowie who made the fewest mistakes and took gold by winning the 2nd set 7-5.
For the third place, Leicher and Nel fought a titanic battle. Leicher eventually took bronze with a score of 6-7, 6-4 and 10-5.
Nail biting tennis
The girls u/14 division was contested by the four top seeds in the semi-finals: Ayanda Basson (3rd seed) won against Odycia Karaerua (1st seed) 6-1, 6-4 while Joanivia Bezuidenhout beat Mari van Schalkwyk (4th seed) 7-5, 6-3.
The finals were a tough nail-biting match with both players playing strong groundstrokes. In the end, it was the more constant 11-year-old Bezuidenhout who took gold with a score of 7-5 and 6-3.
Mari van Schalkwyk, another 11-year-old took bronze by beating Odycia Karaerua 6-2, 6-2.
The boys u/14 held little surprise as the four top seeds all progressed to the semi-finals. Abraham Alemu (3rd seed) beat Eduan Schollij (2nd seed) 6-3, 6-2, while Lian Kuhn (1st seed) beat Ruan Calitz (4th seed) in a close match with a score of 7-6, 6-4.
The finals were a long battle as both opponents refused to give up and kept the ball going. Great talent was displayed by the two 11-year olds and amazing tennis shots were executed with skill and precision. In the end, Kuhn made fewer mistakes and outplayed Alemu by taking gold with a score of 6-3, 7-5. Schollij beat Calitz to take third place with a score of 6-3, 6-1.
In the boys u/18 division, great strength and power were on display with many aces being served and winners being played. In the round-robin group 1, George Louw came out top by beating Daniel Krige, a visiting South African player, 6-4, 5-7 and 10-2.
In the second group, Daniel Jauss won his division by beating Sarel Janse van Rensburg 6-4 and 6-2. In the finals, Jauss (seeded 2nd) surprised the first seeded Louw by beating him in two sets 6-4 and 7-5.
The boys u/10 division was overshadowed by Divan Engelbrecht as he beat De Witt Bergh 8-3.
In the girls u/10 division, the finals were contested between Linda Alemu and Emma Brinkmann. Alemu took gold with a score of 8-4 while Liha Tromp came in third.
Johan Theron easily won the boys u/12 division by only dropping three games in his four matches. Second place was taken by Markus van Heerden with Kyle Els in third place. The girls u/12 and girls u/18 division both only saw three entries each.
In the u/12 category Hane Schierschmidt came in first with Tjivingurura second and Kaylar Amutse third, while Larushka Kruger came out top for the girls u/18 division by beating Dominique Theron 6-0, 6-1. Johanna Teofelus came in third.
The Namibia Tennis Association thanks Sanlam Namibia for sponsoring this event and supporting the development of tennis for many years.
This is the first of two junior Sanlam sponsored tournaments with the next scheduled for 2 July 2021.