Kenyan Albert Njogu yesterday cruised into the semi-finals of the ITF Junior Circuit by beating Italian Enrico Wood 6 -2, 6-2 at Nairobi Club. The fourth seed player continued with his hot streak as the sole representative in the boys’ singles category from Kenya.
Wood was unusually off his game as opposed to the past fortnight where he posted firm results. In the opening set, Njogu started out dictating pace of play with his big serves particularly troubling the Italian.
He was also very confident on his solid backhand returns where he picked most of his points from as the unseeded Wood struggled for rhythm. Both players showcased their skills and mobility on the ball but Wood’s defending was a bit off par.
Njogu took advantage with clinical finishes at the net as his opponent stuck at the baseline during returns. He consequently picked consistent winners as he sought to close out the set. His healthy lead of 4-0 was only broken twice as Wood shifted to play variance.
Njogu’s dominance and conversion ratios gave him an edge in one of the most consistent performances thus far in the tournament. Two double faults by his challenger saw him shut the set out on a high. Second set saw Njogu step harder on the gas even as Wood attempted to force a comeback in the enthralling encounter.
Playing on a familiar surface, Njogu mastered the court so well and knew what ball to play and when to sit back in anticipation. However, Wood did not just crumble and occasionally put his opponent to the back foot.
Both players wanted to improve their last week quarter final standings in the second leg but it was Njogu who had it. His ferocity with his shot was good enough to collect points as Wood fizzled off. His relentless pressure on the go made it difficult for Wood to offer any credible answers.