Tennis: Okutoyi readies for Roland Garros with Africa Junior Championships

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 star Angela Okutoyi will be targeting to use the Africa Closed Junior Championships (JB2 Sousse) to up her preparations for the upcoming Roland Garros Junior Championships in France.

The African championship serves off on Monday in Sousse, Tunisia where the 18-year-old local star will be seeking to redeem herself after a drop in performance in recent championships.

Ranked 59th on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior rankings, the reigning champion along with Alicia Owegi (765) and Cynthia Wanjala (978) will represent Kenya at the tournament.

The three are the best ranked women players in junior tennis in the country.

Kenya has no representative in the boys’ category after top-ranked player in the country Kael Shah (736) withdrew.

The Africa Closed Junior Championships has attracted the best players including Tunisian Meriem Ezzedine, Botswana’s Ekua Youri and Moroccan Malak El Allami all who Okutoyi defeated on her way to African glory last year. 

The January Sports Personality of the Month Award winner will be hoping to defend the title she won last year.

Okutoyi defeated Moroccan Aya El Aouni 6-3, 6-3 in last year’s final in Sousse to become the first ever Kenyan champion of the 18 & Under tournament.

Additionally, she will be seeking to end her poor show in the past four tournaments she has participated in.

On March 7, Okutoyi lost to Slovenian Falkner Ziva in quarter-finals at the W15 Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt before losing again to Japanese Ramu Ueda in W15 Sharm El Sheikh in the first round on March 14.

She also suffered another quarter-final exit against Sandugash Kenzhibayeva from Kazakhstan at the J1 Casablanca, Morocco.

In her last outing, Okutoyi was eliminated in straight sets by German Chantal Sauvant in the first round at the W15 Marrakech on March 21.

Okutoyi is preparing for the 2022 Roland Garros Junior Championships in France slated for May 29 to June 5.