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Okutoyi eyes second win in Australian Open tie

THE STANDARD
January 25th 2022
Anjela Okutoyi return ball during the ITF World Tennis Tour U18 Championships at Nairobi Club on Wed Jan 30, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyan tennis sensation Angela Okutoyi will be seeking to edge closer to the knock out stages when she faces Zara Larke of Australia today in the second round matches of the 2022 Australian Junior Open currently going on in Melbourne.

The 17-year-old Kenya number one is two matches away from reaching the quarterfinals of the global junior tennis event and her head coach Francis Rogoi believes Okutoyi will do Kenya proud.

The 2021 African champion on Sunday had a dream debut at the Australian Open after flooring Federica Urgesi of Italy 2-1 in the opening main draw matches at Melbourne Park to sail through to the second round.

Speaking to the Standard Sports, Rogoi said Okutoyi always performs under pressure and she will qualify for the third round.

“We have developed a player-coach relationship with Okutoyi where our focus ahead of every match is always to enjoy the game. If you are playing any sport and you are not enjoying it, there is no way you will succeed to greater heights,” said Rogoi.

“I trust she will handle the pressure which is of cause there with all Kenyans rallying behind her after her impressive debut on Sunday.”

“She will plan the game according to her strengths, take every points as a new approach, visualise and block away unnecessary energy.”

Okutoyi, who is the second Kenyan to play at the Australian Open after Paul Wekesa, was off to a flying start in her first match as she bagged the first set 6-4 before surrendering in the subsequent one that ended 7-6 in favour of the Italian.

She proceeded to sweep Urgesi 6-3 in the final set to emerge victorious in a match that lasted two hours, 13 minutes.

Okutoyi will face Australian Larke from 10am, with a goal of bouncing back to form after a disappointing doubles performance.

Okutoyi and teammate Al Aouni from Tunisia were on Sunday afternoon knocked out of the Australian Open doubles categories after losing 6-1, 6-1 to Japanese duo of Moui and Mui Mushika.

A win against Zara will see Okutoyi face either Russian Yaroslava Barta or Serbian Lola Radivojevic in third round ahead of quarterfinals.

The Australian knocked out seventh-seeded Johanne Svendsen (14) from Sweden 6-4, 6-1 in the first round to book a date with the African champion.

Ranked 60th in the latest International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior rankings announced on January 3, which is her new career-high, Okutoyi will be hoping to continue making history in Melbourne.

 

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