Okutoyi through to second round in ITF tournament
Angela Okutoyi, the 2018 Kenya Open champion, advanced to the second round of International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Women’s Tour after beating Demi Tran of Netherlands in straight sets of 7-5,6-1 at the Peponi School in Ruiru yesterday.
The 15-year-old Okutoyi, who is also the current ITF World Tennis Tour Nairobi Junior Open champion, struggled to assert herself in the opening set which was closely contested.
The Kenyan youngster then produced a fantastic display in the second set, her powerful returns and serves proving too difficult for her Dutch opponent who attempted to send the match to a tie-breaker in vain.
“It was a tough match since I was facing an opponent who is exposed to a lot of international tournaments. I knew that If I allowed her to win the first set, I would be forced to play catch up which would have been more difficult,” Okutoyi said before adding that the wins of fellow Kenyans Faith Nyabera and Judith Nkatha on Tuesday played a crucial role in motivating her.
Nyabera beat Vibhasree Gowda of India in split sets of 6-1,3-6,6-3 while Nkatha came from behind to overcome Gabonese Maria Nyonda.
“Seeing them win gave me a lot of confidence and I had to give my best. I am seeking to enjoy the game and get the great exposure that this tournament brings. The experience is good and It will definitely come in handy at the African Games since we are playing high calibre matches,” Okutoyi said.
With the tournament contributing to the Women’s Tennis Association rankings, Okutoyi increased her tally after picking a single point from yesterday’s win.
Meanwhile, Okutoyi’s Kenyan counterpart Fatiya Shariff found the going tough as she lost to Brazilian Borges Galvao in straight sets of 6-1, 6-0.
It was always going to be difficult for the 17-year-old Shariff who was facing an opponent three years older than her and the gap in experience was laid bare on the court with the Kenyan struggling to cope with her opponent’s serves.
“She was quite tough but I feel I could have done better. I have picked some important lessons from the loss and It will be great if we play in more of such tournaments to build on our confidence,” said Shariff.
Kenyans in the second round (Singles)
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