Newbees enjoy first tournament experience The Daveyton tournament is always regarded as a step below the Tennis SA sanctioned events, so it is a good tournament to start new players off on their journey towards more taxing days ahead. We were able to “blood” two of our younger girls and both came out the tournament with credit. Eight year old Banele Xolo was entered into the under 10 event and due to the small entry this was played on a Round Robin basis and suited Bonele as her first taste of tournament play. Although she started off nervously in her first match, she improved in score and confidence as she went along and her last match saw her just edged out by the odd game. The improvement that we saw in each match was gratifying and Bonele came through her first event with a smile on her face. Mpumi Hlatshwayo was entered into the under 12 event and got off to the ideal start showing great tenacity in winning the final set tie break. Thereafter the seeded player she then played proved too strong and experienced for her, but Mpumi achieved what we asked of the players, and that is to win one match. Nkosikhona Ubisi was doing well until he too came up against the third seed but he achieved a creditable result in going down and showed that his experience in having played in the recent inter provincial tournament has improved his overall game. 12 year old Wandile Tshabalala recovered well from a first round loss in the back to back event and won his first match there but then was unlucky to lose his final match 8-10 in the final set tie break. The stars of the tournament for our youngsters were Angel Nkosi and Thando Xolo (Bonele’s older sister) as Angel had some tough, close matches in the singles but together they almost made the initial breakthrough in doubles as they narrowly lost to the number 2 seeds in the semi final agonizingly losing the final set tie break. Just a point the other way in that tie break could have made all the difference. Thando excelled by reaching the semi final of the singles and then lost a very close match for the 3rd and 4th place to a stronger opponent, but her performance added to the doubles made sure that came away from the event with a lot of positives. This follows on from her winning two matches in the recent inter provincial to show that she is improving each time she plays in a tournament. There are a lot of positives to take from this tournament and it is gratifying to see the progress made by the more experienced players and the underlying promise shown by the “newbees”.