Ellina Mhlanga Sports Reporter
THE International Tennis Federation Old Mutual Futures Series got underway yesterday with Zimbabwe’s Takanyi Garanganga and Mehluli Sibanda sailing through to the second round at Harare Sports Club.
Garanganga, seeded second, had a good day when he beat fellow Zimbabwean Courtney Lock 6-2, 6-4 in the first round.
The Zimbabwe number two played some good tennis with his serve working well for him most of the time and taking crucial points in the match.
Garanganga is one of the favourite players in this tournament.
He is seeded second behind Benjamin Lock and with a positive start yesterday he will be out to continue with his fine form when he returns on court tomorrow.
Sibanda also had a good start, upsetting fourth seed Bojanovic Darko of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2.
The 18-year-old took the first set before his opponent got the better of him to claim the second.
But Sibanda proved to be the better player of the day as he came back to take the third set, winning the match to proceed to the next round.
The reigning Junior Sportsman of the Year, who is set to compete in all the three tournaments that will run until June 17, was impressed with the win.
“I am here for all the three weeks and I had a good win today, a little bit nervous, first match is always the toughest and I am happy I got the win today.
“I was nervous in the first set and the second, I mean I had to hold my nerve after losing the second set.
“I managed to play well in the third (set) and that was a good thing.
“It wasn’t easy, I didn’t think I will play that well today, I got a little bit shaky because of the nerves . . . I missed, made a lot more double faults but he missed as well, maybe also (because of) the pressure,” said Sibanda.
Sibanda will team up with his brother Muzi for their doubles today.
Despite losing his opening match yesterday, Courtney, who missed the Davis Cup this year, said it’s good to be back after completing his studies.
He still has the doubles to look forward to together with his brother Benjamin.
“Obviously, I want to do as well as I can here and it’s tough to play the number two seed in the first round.
“But I mean I still have got many more to go and I think if I take care of myself this week and get ready and I get the right draw next week, I think I can do well.
“Obviously I am very excited for the doubles. I probably do better in doubles historically but Benji and I play well together.
In doubles matches played yesterday Martin Dzuwa and Miracle Matanga lost 3-6, 4-6 to Aaron Schmid and Emmet Ward. Mark Chigaazira and his South African partner Richard Thongoana lost to India’s Anirudh Chandra Sekar and Vignesh Peranamallur 4-6, 4-6.
Chigaazira today faces Sean Hodkin of Britain in the singles.