Van Schalkwyk wins championships

Namibia’s Connor van Schalkwyk beat South Africa’s Anro Nel 6-3 6-7 6-3 to win the boys under-16 final at the Confederation of African Tennis Southern African Junior Championships in Windhoek on Tuesday.

The tournament started on 10 January and ends 19 January, with matches taking place at the SKW courts in Olympia and Central Tennis Courts.

The second-seeded Van Schalkwyk started off slowly as he struggled with Nel’s power.

He, however, rallied back from 3-2 to win the first set 6-3.

Nel then upped his game and produced some strong serves, which at one point saw him lead 4-1 before Van Schalkwyk fought back to tie the set 6-6.

However, Nel won the resultant tie break to win the set 7-6, setting the stage for a fascinating final set.

The third set was an exciting affair as Van Schalkwyk started off well, winning the first match before Nel made it 1-1.

The Namibian then won the next two matches to make it 3-1, before Nel won the fifth match to make it 3-2. Van Schalkwyk then held on for the save to win the next two matches, making it 5-2 before Nel won the match.

The Namibian then wrapped up the match by breaking the South African serve to win the under-16 tournament for the first time on his home ground.

Speaking to the media after his victory, Van Schalkwyk said he was happy to win the tournament for the second time in his career after winning the under-14 version two years ago in Botswana.

“Today, my forehand was not working as well as I would have liked it. My aim was to push him back and move into the court and maintain the pressure. After the first set, I got too excited and tried to do too much on the break points,” he said. Van Schalkwyk added that winning the first game in the third set was important as that helped him cruise ahead.

Meanwhile, in the girls under-16 final, second-seeded Suzanie Pretorius of South Africa beat compatriot Leigh van Zyl 6-3 6-3.

In the boys under-14 final, Leo Matthysen of South Africa beat Takura Mhwandagara of Zimbabwe 6-1, 6-4.

In the girls under-14 final, Midzi Tanyaradzwa of Zimbabwe beat Jani Steyn of South Africa 6-4, 3-6 and 6-4.