Schoolboy serves up goods at Stellenbosch tennis event

2014-11-06 00:00

CRICKET and rugby are the predominant school sports these days, and it’s refreshing to find a youngster who excels in a different discipline.

Glenwood Grade 10 pupil Damon Kesaris wields a tennis racquet to good effect, playing in six International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments around South Africa — and one in Zim­babwe — since July this year.

It’s no mean feat to keep strong through such a tough schedule, playing at such a high level on a continuous basis.

In September this year, Kesaris won the schoolboys’ Osborne Shield for the second time, earning him the honour of representing South Africa at the Junior Davis Cup finals in Mexico.

It was no disgrace for the South Africans to narrowly lose the play-offs, and the experience gained from playing against some of the world’s top juniors was invaluable.

In recent weeks, Kesaris has been in Stellenbosch, where he has been playing in ITF tournaments.

Seeded two for the first event, he lost in the second round, and the following week he was seeded three.

Opposition was strong, but Kesaris pulled through some testing matches, his fortunes changing from earlier.

He met the number two seed Okkie Kelleman in the semi-final and took him out in three sets, setting up a date with Richard Thongoane, who had proven to be somewhat troublesome for Kesaris in a number of previous meetings.

This time, though, there were no such misgivings for Kesaris, who dominated the final in a one-sided showdown, winning emphatically 6-1, 6-0.

This was his first ITF title, and demonstrated a great display of character and belief in turning around the previous week’s disappointment.

Another long season lies ahead for Kesaris, but this victory has given him the confidence needed as he re-strings his racquet, slings his bag over his shoulder, and steps on to the tennis courts to serve up the goods once more.

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