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Hopes of boys’ singles title end as local loses to Hungarian Deli

Kenya’s chances of claiming the boys’ singles title in the ongoing ITF Junior Circuit went up in smoke yesterday when Albert Njogu was eliminated in the third round.

Fourth seed Njogu endured a difficult moment as he lost in straight sets of 6-2, 7-6(5) to Hungarian Mihaly Deli.

Njogu’s fall came just 48 hours after compatriots Ryan Randiek and Derrick Ominde suffered the same fate, making it the first time Kenyans have failed to get to the penultimate stages of a home tournament.

Series of errors

It was a bad day at the office for Njogu who had just breezed past Italian Alexander Gammariello 24 hours earlier.

His serve precision in the opening set was wanting, his movement not well coordinated thus according his opponent a lot of opportunities.

Njogu’s usual attacks were neutralised by Deli who had read most of his methods on court and it did not help matters that the Kenyan had wayward return serves.

The second set was finely poised as the Kenyan player attacked the net more. Njogu had taken a 5-2 led and was cruising before a series of errors on the serve cost him.

Albert Njogu of Kenya returns a forehand against Mihaly Deli of Hungary during their ITF U18 Championship at Nairobi Club yesterday. Photo/PHILIP KAMAKYA

His backhand winners, coupled with his strong rally fights earned him crucial points but it was not enough as Deli never gave up the chase which pushed him to a tie-break points victory.

“It was just a bad day for me. I was staying too far off the net and he took advantage plus my movement on court was very clumsy. I have to improve before the third leg gets underway,” said a disillusioned Njogu who is in the top 400 in ITF junior rankings.

The story was, however, different in the girls’ corner as second seed Sneha Kotecha avoided a three-set match by winning 6-2, 7-5 against South African Suzanie Pretorious.

Kotecha remains the only Kenyan singles player in the second leg of the juniors’ event following a heavy European surge.

The hard-hitting South African attacked Kotecha heavily in the second set but her execution let her down as the Kenyan, who won the first leg last weekend, held on for victory.

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