Barry Silah @obel_barry Kenya’s
Angella Okutoyi lost the girls’ 18 and below title to Karen Open champion Celestine Avomo of Gabon 6-3, 6-3 as the SGA Kenya Juniors Open tournament ended at Nairobi Club yesterday.
The unseeded Okutoyi started solidly as she contained top seed Avomo impressively but the Gabonese starlet had backed up plans to switch and attack with her serves that continuously left her opponent dazed. Sixteen-year-old Okutoyi, who has previously represented Kenya in major events, also got her chance to execute her points off her lively backhands.
The opening set was a taste of psychological resolve for Okutoyi who had to be vigilant as the powerful Avomo dominated with some ruthless strokes. However, her tactic of staying away from danger and only playing in the decisive balls was breathtaking, her movement and variation of shots helping the cause.
Avomo was occasionally guilty of committing unforced errors which seemed to disrupt her strategy for a while. Twice Avomo evened the scores but Okutoyi’s resolve on the day was admirable to the end.
Meanwhile, Ryan Randiek overcame his regular sparring mate Albert Njogu in straight sets of 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in the boys’ 18 and under category. It was another bruising battle between two players who know each other well on the clay surface.
The opening set was a joy to watch as both traded shots across the net with Randiek winning battle of the wits particularly on recoveries, his ball execution rate proving challenging for Njogu who had to be smart to save energy.
Randiek was more alert and calculative especially with his deliveries after Njogu proved resistant with good serves back in the tie breaker. Two double faults, however, saw Randiek through against his relentless challenger.
In another contest, Kennedy Musembi and Mwendwa Mutuku pressed on with impressive wins following similar feats 24 hours earlier. The two, who were participating in the 16 and under category, showed their mettle with crisp but tight wins against Bradley Onsongo (6-7(4), 6-1,6-1) and Raymond Riziki (7-5, 6-1), respectively.