Barry Silah @obel_barry
Kenya began its quest to qualify for today’s Group 2 Africa Davis Cup Championships by clinching two wins at the Nairobi Club yesterday.
Top seed Ismael Changawa took just under an hour to dispatch Ugandan Boris Aguma 6-2, 6-1 at the Simba Centre Court buoyed by a massive home support.
The powerful American-based Kenyan moved diligently and caused havoc using his left hand especially on the returns. His serve percentage was exceptional as he won most of his points from the baseline.
In the opening set, Aguma seemed to be playing defence from the marauding Kenyan attacks until he was opened up after a flurry of shots found him unable to cope thus committing multiple errors.
Smelling blood, Changawa attacked relentlessly while at the same time shutting out any threats. The second set was one way as Changawa saved match point twice to break his opponent with deadly backhands. His powerful aces saw him close down the match with relative ease as he took great command against his rival who faded fast.
In the early match at the same venue, Kenya’s second seeded player Sheil Kotecha had to survive a scare, including a second set tie-break, to see of his Ugandan counterpart David Oringa 6-4,7-6(4).
The big-serving Oringa had led the opening set by 3-1 as he constantly found Kotecha in wrong territory. His slices and backhands were in awe especially when Kotecha was far off the net. However, the Kenyan player withstood pressure and mounted attacks of his own to score crucial points.
The pair exchanged good rallies between them even as Oringa started making mistakes with his serve.
Both sets had different dynamics but ultimately more off the balls went to Kotecha on a court that he is accustomed to. The second set particularly wore out Oringa as he failed to take his chances and the Kenyan countered by lurking dangerously.
There was a turnaround when Oringa chased down the score from 5-3 to force a tie-break thus, yielding a match point situation which Kotecha fought gallantly to pick.
“It was a good match against a tough opponent. Instructions from my coach in the break and good support from the crowd and my team-mates did it for me. My strategy to subdue him worked even though I got a bit nervous in the dying moments,” said Kotecha.