… but most others bowed out early in Marrakesh
Botswana’s rising tennis star, Ntungamili Raguin, has secured the prestigious IFT/CAT Under 14 African Junior Championship title in the boys’ category.
The event, hosted on clay courts, unfolded in Marrakesh, Morocco from 11 to 15 September 2023, and was jointly organised by the Confederation of African Tennis (CAT), the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and the Morocco Tennis Federation.
Raguin’s journey to victory was nothing short of spectacular. He commenced his remarkable performance in the first round by defeating the 6th seed, Anas Ben Youssef of Tunisia, with a scoreline of 6/3 6/2.
In the second round, Raguin faced a gruelling battle against Morocco’s Mehdi Laabi, ultimately emerging victorious with a hard-fought score of 6/3 2/6 6/4.
The quarterfinals witnessed another remarkable victory as he overcame the 4th seed, Ghali Komat of Morocco, with a score of 6/2 0/6 6/4. Raguin continued his impressive run by securing a semifinal win against Skander Nsairi from Tunisia, sealing the match at 6/4 6/4.
In a thrilling final showdown, he defeated Morocco’s Salaheddine Ghali with a scoreline of 7/6 (6) 4/6 6/3 to be crowned African champion.
An exceptional player
Speaking to Gazette Sports in a telephone interview, Oaitse Thipe, President of the Botswana Tennis Association (BTA), expressed profound pride in Raguin’s accomplishments, remarking. “We are truly proud of him,” he said. “He is an exceptional player.
“If he maintains this level of performance, he stands a strong chance of being selected to compete in the prestigious Orange Bowl in Florida, USA. All he needs to do is finish the year ranked in the Top Three in Africa, and his spot is secured.”
Thipe attributes this achievement to their collaboration with parents and coaches. The recent success of local junior tennis players has been remarkable. However, in a tournament marked by fierce competition, other local players faced early eliminations.
Marcus Semane encountered Algeria’s Yacine Meghari and suffered a 6/0 6/0 loss. In the boys’ singles, Martin Seetso was defeated by Yassin Hamdy of Egypt, with a score of 6/2 6/3, while Tinashe Phatshwane faced Nigeria’s Abdelmouhay Ghouli and lost 6/1 6/0.
In the girls’ singles category, Malak Macheng reached the second round but succumbed to the 5th seed, Rined Saafi of Tunisia. Ditshegofatso Bapaletswe faced a tough challenge against Morocco’s 12th seed, Sophia Adil, in the first round.
Samantha Chivazve went up against Morocco’s 10th seed, Yasmine Douyeb, in the opening round and suffered a 6/0 6/0 loss. Nelisiwa Tsima also bowed out in the first round, falling to Zimbabwe’s Tanaka Mhlanga with a score of 6/2 6/1.
While most of the team faced early exits in both boys’ and girls’ doubles, the duo of Martin Seetso and Ntungamili Raguin showcased exceptional teamwork by reaching the quarterfinals in the boys’ category.
They clinched victory in their Round of 16 match against Egypt’s Hamdy Yassin Hamdy and Hassan Ibrahim Hassan Ramy, prevailing with a score of 7/5 6/4.