The fourth NTA senior tennis tournament got into full swing over the weekend with matches played at the NTA Central tennis courts in Olympia from Friday and culminating in the finals on Saturday and Sunday morning.
The tournament sponsored by the Eros Bottle Store drew a record number of around 50 players with some travelling from as far as Oshakati in the north and Aroab in the south.
Matches were played in an A, B and C section accommodating different levels of play. Players in the beginner’s C section were mainly students from the University of Science and Technology (Nust).
One of the toughest matches played in the tournament was the semifinal between Minichel Alemu and Grant Rau, the current Number 2 and 3 in the Namibian tennis-ranking list, respectively. At a score of 1-6, 6-1, 4-5 Alemu suffered from cramps and had to abandon the match. His somewhat lucky opponent Rau was also exhausted and the final match had to be re-scheduled for Sunday morning.
In the final, a much younger Deon Van Dyk beat Grant Rau 6-4, 6-3.
Tensions were very high as the Men’s A section doubles began as some players had to watch some of their coaches take part in the tournament. In a much-anticipated final Kallie Heese and Nqobilizwe Moyo defeated SP Van Wyk and Minichel Alemu in a three-set thriller 3-6, 6-2, 10-8.
“We were so lucky to win against our younger opponents today,” an exhausted Heese happily commented after the match. “We simply relied on good team communication and it worked for us today.”
Another match that took place on Sunday was the Men’s Section B doubles finals, which saw Mkhululi Khupe and partner Robert Riethmueller play against NTA president Samson Kaulinge and Raymond Bartlett.
The match was dramatic with the match fortunes shifting back and forth between the two sides. Khupe/Riethmueller eventually won the match in the third set super champion tie break 6-3, 1-6, 10-8.
From the start the Men’s Singles B section saw a clash between FNB-sponsored development player Diken De Jongh and Raymond Bartlet, a former top 18 junior player. After two and half hours of grueling groundstrokes Raymond Bartlet won the intense and highly entertaining match 6-1, 6-7, 6-4.
In the Men’s C section Tutu Uaatjo beat fellow Nust student Eddie Tsowaseb 6-7, 6-2, 10-4. The C section doubles were won by Tutu Uaatjo and Kai Feldmann, who beat Mega and Eddie Tsowaseb 7-6, 6-2.
In the Women’s A section renowned tournament champion Amanda Van Wyk demonstrated once more that she is still is the woman to beat in Namibian tennis. She defeated the runner-up Bronwyn Karure with a 6-0, 6-0 whitewash. The women’s B section was won by Marissa Straus, while Hendina Apollus came second.
In the Women’s A doubles competition Megan Lombardt and Bronwyn Kavarure won be default when their opponents Rauha Haikwiyu and Hendrina Apollus after winning the first set 6-1 had to give up the match due to injury of one player. In the Women’s C section Nathalia Kupembona prevailed 6-2, 6-2 over Nadia Urimovandu.
The Women’s B Section doubles were won by Nathalia Kupembona and Helena Shaapopi, who beat Regina Mwinga and Nadia Urimovandu 6-4, 6-4.
At the prize-giving ceremony NTA president Samson Kaulinge congratulated all the winners and expressed thanks to the sponsors, which had once more supported the NTA senior tournaments with valuable prizes.
Tournament director Kallie Heese announced that the next major senior tennis tournament will be the Bank Windhoek NTA Senior Masters in Swakopmund, to which only the top ranked eight male and female players of the country be invited.
The next major opportunity for senior tennis players to display their skills and fitness will be the last tournament of the year on December 16-17, also in Swakopmund.