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Okutoyi stuns Tunisian Bahri to make Africa Nations finals

Barry Silah @obel_barry

A cracker final is lined up for today at the Africa Nations Cup Women’s Single in Botswana following Angela Okutoyi’s sail to the finals.

The youngster stunned highly rated Tunisian Bahri Ferdaous in straight sets of 6-4,6-1 in a marathon match under strong sunlight. Teenager Okutoyi has thus set up a scintillating finale against another Tunisian in the shape of Bechri Chiraz who saw of Oostal Lina of Mauritius in the hard court surface.

Opening set in the match was end to end with both players trading great shots between them. Okutoyi was effective in his serve performance, especially on return while Ferdaous who is a regular tour player was crisp in his deliveries off the forehand.

The first set had all the hallmarks of a thriller with no player ceding ground. The Kenyan champion was particularly dangerous on the net as she sought to close out the opponent who wowed with her variance of play.

However, her poor covering undoing was exploited by Okutoyi who seized every moment to pick the points. Despite dropping four games in the opening set; her resolve and caution in the second set were marvellous as she forced her challenger to commit errors.

Meanwhile, Ismael Changawa lost 6-2, 3-6, 4-6 to Zimbabwean Sibanda Mehluli in the semi-finals as his title charge was halted by the brave challenger.

The Kenyan took the opening set in easy fashion as he made work difficult for Sibanda whose movement was impaired by the sunlight. The Zimbabwe star, however, broke Changawa’s serve twice in succession; threatening a coup of sorts in the early exchanges.

However, a more settled Changawa woke up from the ashes attacking relentlessly with powered drives from the baseline and punishing backhands as well to get an advantage. In the follow-up sets, Changawa’s momentum was checked with a more engaged and efficient Sibanda unlocking the weak points to boot the 2018 Kenya Open finalist out of the competition.

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