By Ellina Mhlanga
LOCAL tennis star Mehluli Sibanda concluded the year on a high note after claiming the Select Healthcare Tennis Masters title when he beat his brother Muzingaye in the final 6-3, 7-5, in a close contest at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
It was a family affair with the two brothers having earlier on joined hands to dismiss the pair of Martin Dzuwa and Liberty Nzula in straight sets 6-4, 6-4 to win the doubles title.
They then met in the singles final where they both enjoyed a good game in a match that could have gone either way.
Mehluli got $1 200 for winning the tournament while Muzingaye received $700. Mehluli recently picked one of the gold medals for Team Zimbabwe at the African Union Sports Council Region Five Under-20 Youth Games in Botswana and he continued to enjoy his fine form during the four-day tournament in Harare.
The 19-year-old could not hide his joy after competing with his brother in the final, a moment he said will always be cherished.
“It feels good especially playing him in the finals and winning the doubles. It’s a pretty special moment that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. We don’t get to play each other a lot at tournaments, so this was pretty special.
“I played him long time back, I think at Under-14 level but in local tournaments. I haven’t played him in an international tournament, we are still waiting for that,” said Sibanda.
Following his success in Botswana, Mehluli said it was one of his best experiences and concluding the year on a high note is a good motivation ahead of 2019.
“I knew all guys that were playing there so it was pretty special and getting a gold for Zimbabwe. We didn’t get many of those, so being one of the guys that got gold was pretty special.
“I believe I can win but I just had to focus, one match at a time and that’s what happened and I got to win . . . So finishing like this is pretty special and it gives me something to look forward to next year,” said Mehluli.
The reigning Junior Sportsperson of the Year said its back to practise for now and will be back in action end of January.
Muzingaye was pleased with their outing at this tournament and his younger brother’s achievement at the Regional Games.
“It’s nice to be winning again with him. I just hope it continues next year into the Futures.
“I feel proud. I think he has a bright future if he continues to work hard, which he is. So I am really positive about his future,” said Muzingaye.
Tennis Zimbabwe manager, Cliff Nhokwara, said they are hoping to make the tournament bigger next year
source: the herald