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Zimbabwe tennis player Vusa Hove honoured in USA

by 20/04/2013 18:07:00 0 comments 2130 Views
Zimbabwe tennis player Vusa Hove honoured in USA

TALENTED Zimbabwean tennis player Vusa Hove was this week named as the Mid-American Conference Player of the Week in the United States.

Hove is currently on a tennis scholarship at University at Buffalo in New Jersey where he was this week named as the MAC Player of the Week following his superb display on the court last week.

According to reports from New Jersey, Buffalo's senior student Hove passed Nick Zieziula into sole possession of second place on the university's all-time singles victory list, following his two singles wins over the past weekend.

On Friday, Hove downed Chicago State's Sergiu Muresan, 6-2, 6-1, then needed three sets to dispose of Binghamton's Sid Hazarika in the number one match, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4. Hove also picked up a doubles win on Friday and his singles and doubles total of 119 wins puts him in third-place on the all-time combined list passing Kirill Kolomyts (2007-10) who had 118.

Hove is tied for the team lead with Damien David with 16 singles wins this season.

Meanwhile, The Spectrum newspaper reported from New Jersey that when the men's tennis doubles pair of University at Buffalo's senior Hove and junior Yevgeiny Jason Shkodnik takes the court for play, it's as if they are competing in a chess match.

Moving from service box to service box, like a pawn moves from place to place on a chessboard, both switch up formations to confuse opponents.

Through their strategies, Hove and Shkodnik set each other up to attack the net and hit blistering shots, making it difficult for the opposition to react.

"Doubles is almost like chess," Hove said. "The key is to avoiding checkmate."

Last Friday against Chicago State (1-20, 0-3 Mid-American Conference), Shkodnik was struggling with his backhand throughout his doubles match. After the first set, he and Hove huddled.

When they broke for the second set, they were in a new formation.

"My strength is my forehand," Shkodnik said. "My backhand wasn't working, so we made an in-game adjustment where he would stand in one position and I would roll right to my forehand."

The formation is known as the "Australian Formation". Shkodnik and Hove line up vertically in the same service box on their serve. The server then serves the ball and both players move in opposite directions to the sides of the court, while the other team prepares to return the serve.

This allows the back player to move diagonally toward the net, cutting off the angle and making the return shot for the opponent a difficult one down the line. By doing so, both players are now in an attacking position and lined up vertically at the net.

"I believe it keeps the returner off guard," Shkodnik said. "Because they don't know where we'll be moving. So, most of the time, they either miss the return or hit it right where you want them to and you get to put the volley away."

The formation shift has had an effect on the doubles play for the team this season, according to head coach Lee Nickell.

"They are trying to adjust their formation to hold serve a little bit better," Nickell said. "Our struggle has been holding serve in doubles this year. By adjusting the position and adjusting movement, it might give us some free points."


Doubles play has been a question mark for Buffalo this season, as the squad has been searching for the right pairings to carry the team to a regular season MAC Championship.


Nickell changed his lineup to pair Zimbabwean Hove with Shkodnik, and the cohesion of the two could not come at a better time for the Bulls (9-7, 3-0 MAC).


They currently sit near the top of the MAC, just a half a game behind Ball State (15-7, 4-0 MAC) for the regular season championship.


Hove and Shkodnik hold a 4-2 overall record and a 2-0 MAC record as a doubles pairing.


"At first we had trouble adjusting to each other," Hove said. "But as the season went on, we got used to each other. Our intensity has helped us pick up doubles. and we've won a lot of tough matches with each other."


This upcoming weekend determines who will win the league title, as the Bulls play host to Ball State.


The Australian Formation will be on display as the team bids farewell to seniors Hove and Nick Sarles, a Buffalo native who was a walk-on this season.

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