Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya’s tennis team opened their account of the 2018 East Africa Junior Zonal Championships yesterday at Nairobi Club well during the first round. Girls were especially brilliant as Kenya earned at least five crucial wins to qualify into the next stage set for today.
In the 14 and under category Alicia Owegi proved too strong for her Ugandan counterpart Lea Kishiki downing her in straight sets of 6-3,6-1. In what appeared to be a titanic clash especially in the opening set when the girls exchanged good rallies and volleys in between games.
However, the very mobile Owegi was quick to play varied tennis to catch her opponent flat footed often using the baseline to execute winners.
In the second set, the tiring Kishiki fizzled off as her serves simply did not get the target. Her returns were hardly a threat for the more effective Kenyan whose tactics in the second set was to shut the opponent out thus dropping only a game in the process.
In another match, home girl Cynthia Cheruto beat Aisha Manariza of Burundi 6-1,6-1 in a one sided encounter. This match ended in just under an hour as Cheruto totally dominated her counterpart with great tennis between the net.
Her combination of precision and speed made life difficult for the more direct playing Aisha on the opposite end. The Burundian player appeared out of sorts and confused particularly when her shots went begging thus giving Cheruto the edge. Her backhands were not good enough and the Kenyan took that in stride sending most of the balls to her weak left side.