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Kenyan trio off to a winning start at Rwanda Open

Team Kenya got off to a good start at the fourth edition of Rwanda Open, with three players winning easily in Kigali yesterday. Second seed and US-based Ismael Changawa, Kevin Cheruiyot and Ibrahim Kibet all won in emphatic fashion.

Changawa was too good for his Rwandese opponent Yannick Muvunyi in the round 32 men’s Pro singles, beating him in straight sets of 6-1, 6-1. The three-time Kenya Open champion was ruthless with his return serves and ground strokes which proved difficult for Muvunyi, taking control of his game with unfettered authority as he confounded the Rwandese with power and precision.

The opening set was a straight cut as he dominated his much slower opponent particularly on the baseline. Muvunyi was erratic in his backhand returns as Changawa subdued him with trick shots that left him frustrated. Though he won a couple of points in between, Changawa was always in the driver’s seat as his counterpart struggled for rhythm.

The Kenyan then closed the match fabulously by allowing no spaces and attacking frequently with his powerful forehand. In the mid-morning duel, Cheruiyot beat his Congolese opponent Rukuman Rwandekwe 6-2, 6-0 in a show of class.

The Coast-based player, also known as Ziggy, was in absolute control as he hit winners from all angles after seeing his opponent panic. The opening set was all about sizing up the court as sixth seeded Cheruiyot immediately settled in with good racquet control.

Three of his first three games were faultless as he dismantled Rwandekwe effortlessly. His only undoing in the final two games was poor defence of the baseline which almost ensured a comeback for the ambitious Congolese. Meanwhile, Kibet also moved into the round of 16 after seeing off Earnest Kayiranga 6-2, 6-1.

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