Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
JUNIOR tennis sensation Kudzai Chapepa’s stock continues to rise after yet another dominant performance on the regional stage and she has now set her eyes on competing in the Under-18 category.
The 13-year-old won the Growth Point Free State Super 8 tournament in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on Wednesday, proving that the future of Zimbabwean tennis can still be rescued if players get enough support.
The rising star came from a set down to clinch the Growth Point Free State Super 8 tournament after beating South African Abigayel Vosloo 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 in the final.
She had brushed aside the challenge of Allegra Van Walt 7-6, 6-2 in the semi-finals after upsetting top seed Jahnie Van Zyl 6-0, 6- 1 in the quarter-finals.
Chapepa also recently won the Gauteng Wilson Grand Prix in Pretoria in January and the MP KPM Academy in Middelburg, Mpumalanga in February.
“With Kudzai it’s all about reaping the rewards of her hard work. She is a determined player and her results do not come as a surprise. We are now looking forward to competing even in the Under-18s because she is now eligible. Hope she takes the form into the ITF Under-18s. we are now focusing on her first ITF 18 years and under tournament that will be held in Namibia,” said her coach Thesly Mufunda.
Chapepa has over the years proved to be a serial winner nationally and regionally.
She scooped the 2017 Toyota Centre Botswana Junior Open (under-10) that was held in Gaborone as well as gold in the 2017 Gauteng East Junior Open (Under-12, Gold Division) held in Benoni, South Africa.
Locally she has won the Bulawayo Open, Midlands Open, Harare Open and Masvingo Open.
Mufunda believes there is more to come, not only from Kudzai, but her sister Kuzivaishe as well. Kuzivaishe (10) lost 6-1, 6-2 to Roxy Bredankamp in the Under-12s in the same tournament.
The Chapepa sisters and other players from Gap Sports Consultancy in Bulawayo took advantage of the relaxation of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in South Africa to participate in the tournament.
They have been playing tournaments in South Africa since the beginning of the year and with careful handling, they could ignite the revival of tennis in the country.
The game has been in limbo since the Black brothers, Byron and Wayne as well as their sister Cara retired.
The three had carried the local game on their shoulders with distinction, with cameo support from other local talent that battled for consistency. – @innocentskizoe