Kenya is two wins away from earning a prestigious Group Two Africa slot in the 2017 Davis Cup Competition following a 2-1 win over Benin on Wednesday evening at Cairo’s Solaimaneyah Club. This was the third straight team win for the country as it bids to claim a top two slots before a play-off decider to see who moves up from the eight team Championship.
Sheil Kotecha recovered brilliantly from Tuesday’s defeat by Nazim Makhlouf of Algeria to shut down Felix Hounkpevi of Benin 6-3, 6-1. The match that lasted 71 minutes was as effective going by his game plan.
He took control of proceedings straight from the first serve and dutifully neutraliSed the threat areas of his slick opponent. Kotecha’s movement was assured and his decision-making was remarkable.
His opening three games were buoyed by the energetic input and his variance of service while on the other hand Hounkpevi struggled with the backhands. The recent 2017 Britam Open finalist then took charge leaving his opponent with little chance to manouvre and only on rare occasions was caught napping.
The doubles team pairing of Ibrahim Kibet and Ismael Changawa continued to shine albeit in tight fashion as they saw off Benin duo of Alexis Klegou and Delmas N’Tcha 6-3, 5-7, 7-6.
It was in all respects a balanced affair and the match changed its course with the myriad forced errors from the Benin side. The communication between the Kenyans was on point as they mostly attacked the hugely exposed net area.
The second set, however, was a tad unfortunate as most of their dropped chances were solely on unforced errors as the Benin team looked charged and energised.
Meanwhile it was a sense of déjà vu for Ismael Changawa in the second singles match of the day when he went down 3-6, 2-6 to top seeded Benin player Alexis Klegou. This was the same player who narrowly beat him at last year’s edition. Changawa’s overall defences were a tad off beat thus losing ground.