he annual University Sport South Africa (USSA) Tennis Tournament was hosted in Bloemfontein last week, and it was the home-side, the University of the Free State, who were left smiling after a week of gruelling and thrilling tennis.
A total of 18 teams from 15 different tertiary institutions from across the country competed in the tournament, which was played across an A and a B division.
The hosts, Kovisie Tennis, were in Pool A of the A sections along with their fierce rivals, North West University (Pukke), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
The first three days the teams played a round-robin in the various pools. Kovsies topped their pool after beating each of their three opponents.
The tournament reached its end by Thursday as it was time for the semi-finals, where Kovsies were up against the University of Stellenbosch (Maties). The total of 14 matches were to be contested in the tie, which included four men’s singles, two women’s singles, two men’s doubles, two women’s doubles and two mixed doubles match.
Kovsies made light work of the singles and virtually assured their spot in the final by claiming a 7-1 victory in that particular event. This eased the pressure as they needed just a single win from their six remaining games to win the tie. The tie lasted for just one more game when they knocked the team from the Cape out during the first match of the women’s doubles.
On Friday Kovsies were up against the University of Pretoria (Tuks) in the final of USSA for second year running. It was a virtual repeat of the semi-final when they raced to a 7-1 victory in the singles. This time it was the men’s doubles team who claimed a win in the very next time for the side from Bloemfontein to be crowned as the champions for an 11th year running.
Arne Nel, Cornelius Rall, Ruben Kruger, Lienke de Kock and Reze Opperman were included in the USSA Tennis Squad that will attend training camps and play tournaments in preparation for possible participation at the World Student Universiade in Italy during July 2019. The Kovsie Tennis coach, Marnus Kleinhans, and manager, Janine de Kock, were also named as coach and manager for the team to possibly participate at the Universiade next year. – MORGAN PIEK