Barry Silah @obel_barry
Top seeds in the ongoing Britam Kenya Open Tennis Championships continued with good runs yesterday at Nairobi Club.
Led again by the Changawa siblings, the tournament is quickly turning into a Kenyan affair with at least three ladies and four men headed for the semi-finals.
In the men’s singles draw, Ismael Changawa got an easy run after routing compatriot Samuel Urasa in straight sets of 6-0, 6-0. The number one Kenyan seed showed no mercy to his younger opponent with his biggest points coming off net strokes.
His balance between forehands and backhands were impressive even as he sought to save energy by minimising on movement. The first set ended in just half-an-hour seeing as Urasa faulted numerous times especially on his returns.
“My focus is to win next round so we wait and see. I feel my game is improving by the minute and so that makes me happy,” said the championship favourite Changawa.
In another match, Albert Njogu beat Denzel Seetso of Botswana 6-0, 6-1 in a dominant display.
Despite the heavy sunlight, Njogu was composed in his delivery and selected his shots very keenly. Seetso who is a protégé of the ITF East Africa Centre was unable to cope with the raw power and skill of the upcoming Kenyan player who has had a fantastic season. Njogu used his forehand to good effect as he constantly prodded the unattended spaces on court.
Ibrahim Kibet and Petty Andanda also joined the bandwagon after picking important victories. Second seed Kibet saw off Kennedy Musembi 6-1, 6-1 in a flat match that had little flair. Kibet had an easy ride as he pummelled the opponent with hard direct balls.
In the ladies corner, high-riding Angela Okutoyi joined compatriot Shufaa Changawa with convincing wins. Second seed Okutoyi dispatched Madagascar player Mialy Ranaivo 6-2, 6-2 to give her a shot at her maiden title while 2016 winner Shufaa overpowered compatriot Cynthia Cheruto 6-1, 6-0.