Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenyan players were all beaten in the opening round of the ITF East Africa Junior Championships held at Nairobi Club yesterday. First to fall was Dhruv Karia who was beaten by Italian Enrico Wood 6-0, 6-1 in the boys’ singles match.
In the match that lasted an hour, Karia struggled for rhythm with his balls going off-target, his return serve through the backhand faulty thus frustrating his input. Wood, who had a stellar run in the second leg of the tournament last week, had it easy as his forehand winners made the difference in the two-set match which he only dropped a single game.
Karia could not cope with the speed and mobility of the Italian who took advantage of his erratic play. Next on the chopping board was Brandon Sagala who put up a fight on the court but eventually fell to Zimbabwe starlet Taona Mhwandagara 6-1, 6-2.
The quicker Mhwandagara was strong for the Kenyan with his tactfulness saving him on the day. Sagala attempted drop shots and occasional deep volleys to shift tack but his more alert and mobile opponent was quick to respond especially from the net.
A re-energised Sagala came alive in the second set, taking the first two games quick before his opponent settled but his biggest undoing was his non-precision in the latter stages with execution which made the Zimbabwean player charge to steal winners.
Meanwhile, in the girls matches, the story was the same as Alicia Owegi and Roselida Asumwa also suffered losses. Fast-rising Owegi was beaten by Swedish Frida Bostrand 6-1, 6-2 while Asumwa lost to Burundian Hoziane Kiatambala 6-2, 6-1.