Photo: Suzie Dyrbus, ITFGhana's men celebrate victory over Mauritius
Ghana clinched their first tie in the men’s event at the BNP Paribas World Team Cup Africa Qualification in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday after winning a thrilling deciding doubles rubber against Mauritius. Meanwhile, Tanzania edged out Egypt, setting up a fascinating final day of crucial round-robin ties on Saturday, as Gambia maintained their unbeaten record.
In the women’s event, South Africa stayed on track in their attempt to win the regional qualification for the second year in a row, while Kenya and Egypt are set for a decisive tie to decide which country will join South Africa in the women’s final on Sunday.
Ghana’s men edge out Mauritius in thriller
The first rubber of Ghana’s tie against Mauritius saw the Mauritian team take an early lead as they tried to put their first day loss against Nigeria behind them, but Ghana fought back to claim the second singles rubber and then won the opening set of the deciding doubles rubber before finally claiming the third and final set of a rivetting tie 14-12.
Victory for Ghana brought tears of joy for the No. 1 player Atsu Maclean after he won his first international match. Ghana will now play Nigeria in the final tie in men’s Group 2 to decide who finishes top of the pool.
There was more excitement in Tanzania’s Group 1 tie against Egypt, with the first singles rubber alone taking approximately three hours as Tanzania junior Emmanuel Temba Novatus gained a tense three set victory.
Egypt dominated the second rubber, but as the tie came down to the doubles decider Tanzania took a commanding lead in the second set before Egypt recovered to make it 5-5. However, Tanzania held on to win the set 7-5 and a tie that featured some long and memorable rallies. Tanzania face Kenya in their final round-robin contest.
The other men’s Group 1 contest saw Gambia win both of their singles rubber against Kenya, although a third and deciding set was needed to settle the second singles match before Kenya claimed the dead double rubber to make it 2-1 to Gambia. Gambia are now undefeated after their first two ties. Meanwhile, Egypt and Tanzania both go into the final day of round-robin matches with one win and one loss.
South Africa are also guaranteed a place in the women’s final after claiming their second 3-0 victory of the qualification event against Egypt.
There was another 3-0 win for Kenya’s women against Tanzania and Kenya will now play Egypt in a tie that will decide which nation will face South Africa in the women’s final.