Siblings Ismael and Shufaa Changawa closed out the Rwanda Open Championship Saturday with tight wins and prize money of $1,000 (Sh103,000) each.
Ugandan Duncan Mugabe who is the 2017 Kenya Open champion had a fight of his life against his regional rival Ismael and lost 6-3,7-5.The USA based Kenyan who was second seed in this tournament had to dig deep and control play in the opening set. Mugabe threw everything and especially his swerve shots but the Changawa responded in kind.
Overall shift of play from attack to defence was tactical as he sought to neutralise the top seed Mugabe who covered yards of space on the court.
The biggest undoing was committing too much unforced error with Ismael keen to take the balls to his weak spot. Mugabe struggled to adapt to the non-conventional style of play deployed by his rival. He dropped four games but his attempted comeback was thwarted through fierce forehand volleys.
The second set was a different affair as Mugabe came alive leading by three games on the trot as he attempted to force a tiebreak. Ismael seemed a bit off colour with his serve going erratic. He had to engineer new strategies and sermon strength to stay in the match and ultimately close it out with brilliant mastery as Mugabe somewhat lost steam.
Elsewhere Shufaa’s story was one of resilience and strong willed character. Despite her win of 2-6,6-2,7-6(5) over second seed Burundian Aisha Niyonkuru, she got lucky often.
Her opening set was error strewn with the backhands particularly being poorly executed. The top seed looked rattled as the opponent took control with decent winners.
The 2016 Female Kenya Open Champion lost badly in the opening set but had to be on alert and execute her plan effectively in the follow-up sets.
The ladies side have 18 players with only one new call up in the frame of fullback Jane Wanjiru of Strathmore Scorpions.
Led by coach Wilson Otieno, the team skippered by Lillian Felesya are also keen to make their presence felt as they look to qualify for the World Cup in England next year.
Osayo can count herself among other winners that include 214 millionaires (including Supa Monday) and 21 multimillionaires, since Lotto’s inception in November 2015.