Barry Silah @obel_barry
Team Kenya yesterday posted mixed results at the ongoing Davis Cup Group Three Zone Africa when they tied 1-1 at Nairobi Club against Namibia.
Second seed for Kenya Sheil Kotecha survived two breaks in serve before recovering to win 7-5, 6-3 against Jean Erasmus at the Simba centre court.
The match itself took just under 45 minutes but Kotecha got more than he bargained for as his opponent took confidence in pushing him.
Kotecha seemed to be in cruise control with his exquisite shots earning winners as his opponent struggled for rhythm inside the first set.
The Kenyan shone bright as his backhand returns particularly stole the show.
While at 3-0 lead, Erasmus came alive with precision shots of his own and good service from the baseline to force panic in the Kenyan corner but Kotecha was to come good later.
In the second set, Kotecha started with a bang as he sought to bury in the balls in the right positions.
His opponent seemed to struggle with a bouncy surface as his balls seemed to sputter.
Despite breaking Kotecha once more for 3-3, his serves proved costly at key moments as Kotecha attacked with verve to take home the set.
“It was a tricky match but thankfully it worked out just right.
My opponent kept on coming but my tactics, awareness and mental strength clicked at the right time,” said Kotecha who awaits his next Algerian opponent today.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s top seed Ismael Changawa suffered an unexpected defeat against Tukhula Jacobs going down 7-6 (2), 6-3 in a titanic clash of the day. This was the second time in as many months the Kenyan sensation was losing to the rising star of Namibian tennis after earlier on trouncing him in Nigeria.
Changawa started off slowly as Jacobs took control with glorious shots off his serve and take the game to the Kenyan player in style.
He was broken twice as he failed to deal with deep balls Jacobs resorted to and good defending at the net.
The first set excited most as Changawa came in back and broke the Namibian to force a tie-break while in the second set, Changawa seemed out of sorts with his serve allowing his opponent to reign.
“I just had a bad day in office completely. Nothing worked well and so I live to fight another day.
It was a valuable lesson,” saidd Changawa afterwards.