Siblings Ismael and Shufaa Changawa stormed into the Rwanda Open semi-finals yesterday against seeded home opponents. They are the only Kenyans remaining in the singles chase.
Ishmael who is seeded second in this year’s tournament beat Dieu Donne Habiyambere 6-4,6-1 to maintain his solid run in the competition. The USA-based player had a bit of a topsy-turvy opening set as he interchanged points with his opponent who did a great job of countering the hard hitting left hander who is the 2016/2017 Kenya Open champion.
To his credit, Dieu Donne never gave up and was always in the middle of good rallies against his more experienced counterpart. His net presence and shift of service was impressive as he sought to wear out Ishmael.
However, the battle hardened Kenyan was in no mood of crushing and thus dug deep through wonderful winners that included slick backhands and solid forehands. The seventh seed Cercle Sportiff player had his second set depleted due to fatigue and being forced to make errors due to calculative and assertive play from the aggressive Ishmael.
His subsequent close down of the Rwandan ensured he had his eye on the penultimate stage as the home player virtually collapsed. Ismael had variance of styles and picked desperate points and deliver a killer blow with a swing forehand that bounced off the inside baseline for his match win.
Shufaa on her part overwhelmed eighth seed Olive Tuyisenge 6-0,6-0 to march onwards with little pressure. Her confidence and deadly swings made light work of an out of sorts opponent in the afternoon meet.
Meanwhile, Kenya has sent a strong contingent to the ITF/CAT 14 Junior Championship and Under in Mauritius. The tournament will be run over two concurrent leagues at the National Tennis Center at the Petit Camp. Meanwhile, further measures will be put in place including vetting of mushrooming camps in the country to ascertain their legitimacy.