Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenyan duo Ryan Randiek and Albert Njogu were eliminated from the International Tennis Federation East Africa Junior Circuit U18 Championships in the third round at Nairobi Club yesterday.
Top seed Eric Vanshelboim of Ukraine overpowered Njogu 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 while Randiek fell to Briton Zyaan Ahmed 6-4, 6-2 .Both players put up solid performances against their foreign opponents but were let down by basic errors on the serve.
Njogu, seeded 15th, had impressive runs in the first two legs and exhibited power and good movement which was rewarded with a 2-0 lead in the first set, his precision with the backhands scoring him vital points.
However, Vanshelboim had other ideas as he prodded the area with deep shots, blinding his challenger with crisp swerves towards the baseline. The power of his forehand was also too much to bear for the Kenyan.
A rejuvenated Njogu came alive in the second set as he ran his opponent ragged combining power and pace behind the ball. He utilised his lean frame for good mobility as his opponent found the going tough.
To his advantage, Njogu made few errors especially on the return serve as he controlled proceedings to take the set to a tie. Fatigue and lapses in concentration crept in during the deciding set as both players tried to be cautious.
But it was calamity for Njogu who seemed to give up on what appeared easy points with the top seed picking up momentum. Meanwhile, last week’s quarter-finalist Randiek had a similar rough match, his uneven backhand serves costing him crucial points. The first set was near close as both players engaged in sublime tennis while the second saw Randiek fizzle out unceremoniously.