Eyes on the prize as Billie Jean King Cup tourney begins

Kenya's Angela Okutoyi during THE 62nd Edition of Billie Jean King Cup Group III Africa tournament at Nairobi Club on Monday, June 1o, 2024. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

Kenya on Monday launched their Billie Jean King Cup Africa Group III campaign with a resounding 3-0 victory against Mauritius as this year’s event served off at Nairobi Club.

African Games champion Angela Okutoyi and Cynthia Wanjala floored Tejaswini Jessoo and Anna Chan Kwai Siong, while Roselida Asumwa and Alicia Owegi teamed up to complete the job against Siong and Reese Desaubin in the doubles.

Team Kenya captain Francis Rogoi said that is not an easy competition because all teams are looking to be promoted to Group Two having come closer but fell short last year.

“It is not easy though it may look so from the outside. Players are under pressure to perform well and excel and therefore, are likely to make some mistakes. We started slow in the first rubber, but managed to pick up and secured a victory," he said.

"We played well in the second and third rubbers and look forward to good results in our next encounter."

Wanjala recovered from a slow start to dismiss Siong 6-3, 6-4 and give Kenya an upper hand going into the second rubber.

She admitted that she panicked having been trusted with the huge task of opening the competition for Kenya.

“I feel so good to have won the match, even though I was shaky in the first set due to pressure since I was opening the court for Kenya. Our objective as a team is to earn a promotion to Group Two and so, there is no room for mistakes,” Wanjala said.

Okutoyi made light work of Jessoo in the second rubber giving Kenya a 2-0 advantage in straight sets of 6-0, 6-0.

Jessoo was a mismatch for Okutoyi, who dominated the proceedings cruising to victory without a struggle.

Okutoyi said that going into the match her aim was to remain on top of the game.

“My main of objective during the match was to be at my best, be aggressive on the points and not give an advantage to my opponent and I think it worked pretty well,” Okutoyi said.

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