Barry Silah @obel_barry
Maxwell Ondiek beat Hiroki Ishida of Japan in straight sets of 6-4, 6-2 as Kenyan players started the first round of the Britam Open Tennis Championships brightly at Nairobi Club yesterday.
Ondiek had to be solid and cautious against the Asian, who attempted twice in every set, to force a fight back. Ishida was calculative in shot selection but his opponent stood tall in dealing with the threats. Ondiek had composure especially on the returns but faulted only with his backhands which cost him important points.
Meanwhile, Paul Ssekandi of Uganda beat Suhail Hooker of Kenya 6-3, 6-1 in what was a stand-out performance. The Ugandan was effective in his serves which earned him the advantage over Hooker, seemed to struggle in the second set.
In the opening set, the Kenyan had awareness and focus as he pushed his opponent to the limit with good balls. At the same time, Prince Nyakabau of Zimbabwe beat local player Morrel Omondi 6-0, 6-1. Omondi was subdued when he failed to break serve in three straight games in the opening set. His serve was faulty and often forced him to retreat into defence, allowing Nyakabau to easily exploit the open spaces in the court.
If the first set was a mess, Omondi could not have imagined the punishment he got in the second. Nyakabau dictated pace and took his time to explore and deliver silky shots that confounded his opponent who picked only one game in the entire match.
In the women’s category, Kenya’s Rosemary Asumwa beat compatriot Gabriella Miheso 6-2, 6-0 while Rose Wanjala trounced Sylvia Kivanze 6-1, 6-1.