Two of action at the BNP Paribas Davis Cup proved somewhat tougher for Team Kenya but the lads pressed on as they came through 2-1 winners over Algeria at Cairo’s majestic Solaimaneyah Club in Cairo, Egypt yesterday.
Following a thumping start 24 hours earlier over Botswana, the onus was on the team to turn up good once more so as to advance. However, Ismael Changawa was once again on point for Kenya as he beat Mohammed Hassan 6-0, 6-3 in round two of men’s singles action. The top seed hardly struggled for rhythm as his service proved complicated for Hassan.
The first set was particularly horrid for the Algerian who was at the end of faults and also compounded by myriad unforced errors. Changawa took advantage of his opponent’s impatience and inconsistency on the serve to push him to erratic play hence dropping crucial points when they would have mattered.
The occasionally tricky Hassan proved smarter inside the second set when he sprung to life with good shots off the backhand and at one point forced two consecutive game wins to draw level.
However, a resilient Changawa closed him down with his banger service that included numerous unanswered aces to book a slot into third round. In the doubles meet, Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet pressed on with fantastic duty last evening to silence the Algerian duo of Nazim Makhlouf and Hichem Yasri 6-4,7-5.
Despite the straight sets win, the Kenyan pair had to be on alert and only escaped a tiebreaker in the second set by a close whisker. The opening set was a see-saw affair as both players wowed the crowd with well earned winners following rallies and random volleys in between play.
Kibet’s forehand was monstrous but his undoing was mainly the return serve which gave the trailing Algerians a lifeline. Changawa had to pull the strings from the baseline in a bid to neutralize the dangerous North Africans on hard court.