Competitive tennis begins at 14th Braaiketts tourney today

2011-01-12 00:00

THE popular annual Braaiketts Senior and Junior Tennis Tournament gets under way at Kershaw Park today and culminates with finals day on Sunday. The event is in its 14th year and has attracted a good entry of 140, with an even distribution of entrants amongst the various age groups.

The Men’s Open, which carries excellent prize money, has attracted the usual quality field. Top seed is Andy Anderson of Gauteng. Anderson won the Durban Futures International last year, beating highly regarded Amir Weintraub of Israel in the final. Anderson, although based in Gauteng, represents the Pietermaritzburg-based Braaiketts Tennis Club.

Second seed is last year’s runner-up Ruan Roelofse of the Western Cape. Third seed is Stephen Havenga from Gauteng and fourth seed is local player Stefan Fortmann. Other seeded players are Paul Anderson, Gareth Greenwood, Lance Cohen and Bruce Young.

The junior event has four divisions, from 10 and under, to U12, U14 and U18 for both girls and boys. All divisions are well represented and played on a round-robin basis.

Girls’ U10 has a good entry with each player assured of nine matches. Hannah Willows and Jessica Brown are possibly the pick. Girls’ U12 is divided into two sections of seven players in each. Jemma Veenstra and Sam Yeats of Braaiketts club are expected to make Sunday’s final. Girls’ U14 has an entry of 16 divided into two sections of eight. An extremely competitive division, Section A has Bianca Birkenstock from Durban as the favourite, but Hannah Power and Sarah Grenfell from the Braaiketts club will be strong opposition. Section B should be between Cheney Firman, Sarah Mayne, Tessa van der Merwe and Zandi Powell. The U18 has an excellent entry of 19 players divided into two sections. Section A has the promising Jodi Davidson of Durban as favourite while others to note are Liezel Birkenstock and Jennifer Slotow. Section B has Davidson’s sister, Jenna, as favourite.

Boys’ U10 has 13 entrants all in one section with the top two finishers playing in Sunday’s final. James Kiln is the favourite to win the gruelling round robin of 12 matches. Boys’ U12 has an excellent entry of 16 in two sections. Section A sees James Redfern of the KZN capital as top seed with Section B headed by Matthew Kiln.

A superb entry of 19 in boys’ U14 is divided into two sections. The outstanding Musa Mpondi is hot favourite in Section A but you cannot discount the challenge of Jacques Hoogenboozen, Don Paterson, Ferdie Luttig and Brent Kennard. Some un-heralded players make this section most interesting. Section B has Keegan Foss as likely winner but, as in Section A, there are a number of other talented contenders. The U18 boys’ division sees Andrew Narramore of Durban the favourite.

The four days promise competitive tennis to entertain the healthy crowds at this event each year.

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