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Okutoyi bullish ahead of Australia Open debut on Saturday

TENNIS By Washington Onyango | January 19th 2022 | 2 min read


Anjela Okutoyi returns ball during the ITF World Tennis Tour U18 Championships at Nairobi Club on Wednesday, January 30, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenyan tennis top seed Angela Okutoyi is confident of bouncing back and performing well ahead of her debut in the 2022 Australian Open Junior Tennis Championship which kicks off on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.

She landed in Melbourne on January 10 and proceeded to participate in the warm up J1 Traralgon played between January 14-19. The Kenyan young star was knocked out in the first round in the singles and reached the pre-quarters in the doubles category.

Okutoyi lost 6-2, 6-2 to Yin Yang of Australia in the first round of the singles category.

She later teamed up with Ya El Aouni of Morocco where they bowed 6-3, 6-2 13-11 in the second round of the doubles category to Ana Candiotto of Brazil and Yu Yan Li of Taiwan in a marathon encounter.

"The warm-up tournament was an eye-opener. I learnt a few lessons and have adjusted quite well. With a couple of more practice sessions, I will be in good shape,” said Okutoyi.

The 2021 Africa Junior Champion said she is relishing the challenge of competing against the world's best and is bullish about her chances in the tournament that serves off on Saturday in Melbourne.

Okutoyi is among 46 players enlisted for the main draw in the girls’ category. This will be her first Australian Open Junior Championship.

In 2018, she became the youngest player to win the Kenya Open then aged 14 after upsetting experienced three-time former champion Shufaa Changawa 6-1, 7-6 at Nairobi Club.

In the same year, she won the Africa Junior Championship on Clay Court (AJCCC) Under 14 singles held in Algeria before following up with singles and doubles triumph at the ITF East African Under 18 Junior Circuit, ITF Nairobi Junior Open and Eastern Africa Zonal Championships Under 16 in 2019.

Last year was the best of the lot for Okutoyi who was crowned the 2021 Africa Junior Champion.

Seeded second in Africa, Okutoyi swept aside top seed Aya El Aouni (126) of Morroco 6-3, 6-3 to be crowned champion in the finals played in Sousse, Tunisia in November last year.

Okutoyi also competed in J5 Sfax and J3 Megrine in Tunisia in April, two J3 Cairo tournaments and one J2 Cairo in Egypt in August, J2 Cairo in September and J3 Stellenbosch, J2 Stellenbosch and JA Cape Town in South Africa in October as well as J2 Sousse last year.

Winning the African junior title saw her reach new heights. She is ranked 60th in the latest International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior rankings announced on January 3, which is her new career-high.

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