Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya’s junior tennis players pressed on with their good showing yesterday in the East Africa Zonal Championships held at Nairobi Club. At least six players managed to enter round three of the competition amidst strong challenge from other continental players.
Alicia Owegi continued her steady rise after trouncing Saidi Amurua of Burundi 6-0,6-0 in a show of might in the Girls 14 and under. The Kenyan starlet picked up from her grand display 24 hours earlier through effective play, which startled her opponent.
Owegi who has grown in her game used ground stokes beautifully and backhands sparingly as she tossed her opponent inside out. To her credit, despite all odds stacked against her the Burundian fought gallantly for points across the court.
To save energy, the Kenyan shut out the match with ferocious forehand shots that earned her winners. In another feisty duel, two local girls Cynthia Cheruto and Nicole Agufana fought it out briskly with the former clinching the close tie in the set decider tie-breaker 7-5,7-6(5). Cheruto used her mobile reflexes and clever shots to get the better of a relentless Agufana.
Their styles, however, were almost similar especially in the opening set thus both of them trading points on the go. However Cheruto’s mobility was a perfect antidote as she ran along the net well enough to keep Agufana at bay with forced errors.
The boys also gave a good show with Kael Shah getting the better of Rwandese Joseph Mwishangabo in a one way 6-0,6-0 scoreline. This was rather easy for Shah who is ranked first in the tournament as he won decidedly on the numerous faults of his opponent. His backhand returns were a sight to behold as he gassed out the opponent with disciplined play.Shah is still now the title favourite in his category.