OLIVIA BENNETT and Dexter Mahase will both return to local competition after very long absences when the KCL South Open Tennis Tournament serves off today at Petrotrin Club, Pointe-a-Pierre.
Bennett, who reached No 143 in the world in juniors about five years ago and is this country’s highest-ranked junior ever, last played at home more than three years ago when she won a playoff tournament to make the Fed Cup team.
The 23-year-old, who recently completed studies at Auburn University, Alabama, USA, is the top seed and overwhelming favourite to capture the women’s singles title.
The 16-player draw also includes former national and Tranquillity Open champion Shenelle Mohammed, who made a return after an absence of over three years and won doubles in the 2012 edition of “Tranquil”.
The left-hander is seeded third, just behind Trevine Sellie. Yanshao Chen is the other seeded player.
Mahase, a former Davis Cup player who last competed over five years ago in an invitational top 16 tournament, is the third seed in the men’s singles draw, two places higher than his father Harry.
National champ and three-time Davis Cup player Vaughn Wilson is the top seed, while fellow Tobagonians Jovani Lewis and Akiel Duke, both left-handers, are seeded third and fourth, respectively in the 32-draw.
Duke and Wilson are seeded to in the doubles title, ahead of Lewis and Shaquille Bernard.
There are no other events as the tournament will take place only over the next two days, as compared with two weekends when it was last staged three years ago.
First serve today is 9 a.m.