Voice of Sport

Cheruiyot, Shufaa open well amid stiff opposition in singles’ tennis in Brazzaville

After a long stay, Team Kenya hoped to benefit from acclimatisation before the tennis programme at the African Games


11th AFRICAN GAMES

Brazzaville, Congo, Sep 2-19

TENNIS started on Friday morning and Team Kenya had mixed results in the opening matches of the big draw of 64 in each category.

After two days of play on Saturday, Kevin Cheruiyot and Shufaa Changawa Ruwa were the early entrants into the third round but a fancied overall Kenya captain Caroline Oduor, who had a bye in the first round, was surprisingly eliminated in her opening women’s singles match. Oduor lost to Annabelle Ossombi of Botswana who won 6-3, 6-4. Third round matches continue on Sunday.

Hot conditions

The tennis contingent was one of the earliest Kenya groups to arrive in Brazzaville [on September 4] but the programme had a late start, so all their time was spent on training on the clay courts located in the local tennis club and newly put up public courts near the Massamba-Debat Stadium. Conditions are largely hot.

Head coach Rosemary Owino travelled all the way from her working base in South Africa to join Peter Wachira in preparing the team in Nairobi. They were hoping to benefit from the adequate pre-tournament acclimatisation time in Brazzaville. It will be a grueling schedule requiring six matches, within a week, to the Gold medal.

Passionate

Caroline Oduor, the overall Team Kenya captain was seeded 14th in the women’s singles and a bye passage to the second round put her against home player Annabelle Ossombi whom a passionate Brazzaville crowd rooted for.

Shufaa Changawa Ruwa, the Mombasa girl who topped women’s singles in the Team Kenya trials back in Nairobi had an opening tie against Botswana’s Phatshimo Ruele. Shufaa won 6-3, 6-2.

Kevin Cheruiyot is Team Kenya’s highest ranked (12th) player in the draw whose leading player is Marriot Fynn of Zimbabwe, rated 108 in the world. A Zimbabwe name that is familiar in Kenya tennis, Duncan Mugabe holds the second rank.

KENYA FIXTURES AND RESULTS:

Friday, Sep 11:

Men’s singles:

(Round of 64):

Kevin Cheruiyot (Kenya) beat Bruce Longani (Swaziland) 6-0, 6-0

Mohamed Moussa (Egypt) bt Sheil Ajay Kotecha (Kenya) 6-1, 6-4

Sarma Nkulufa (Cote d’Ivoire) bt Ibrahim Kibet Yego (Kenya) 6-3, 6-4

Fazal Mohammed Khan (Kenya) v Jean Paul Kadangah Kile (Togo) 6-1, 6-1

Women’s singles:

(Round of 64):

Shufaa Changawa Ruwa (Kenya) bt Phatshimo Ruele (Botswana) 6-3, 6-2

Nana Sifa (COD) bt Paige Mbugua (Kenya) 6-1, 6-2

Judith Muraa (Kenya v Jessica Riedel (Namibia) 6-4, 6-2

Sat, Sep 12:

Men’s singles (Round of 32):

Kevin Cheruiyot (Kenya) bt Yannick Raymond Languina (Senegal) 6-4, 6-2

Ahmed Mounir (Egypt) bt Fazal Mohammed Khan (Kenya) 6-2, 6-2

Girls’ singles (Round of 32):

Shufaa Changawa Ruwa (Kenya) bt Pauline Chawafambira (Zimbabwe) 6-2, 6-0

Annabelle Ossombi (Congo) bt Caroline Oduor (Kenya) 6-3, 6-4

Sandra Samir(Egypt) bt Judith Muraa (Kenya) 6-0, 6-0

Girls’ Doubles (Round of 32):

Paige Mbugua/Shufaa C Ruwa (Kenya) bt Nancy Onya/Nana Sifa (COD) 6-3, 6-4

Men’s Doubles (Round of 32):

Silish Gatachew Belay/Teame Gebrselassie Teklemilae (Ethiopia) v Fazal Mohammed Khan/Shail Ajay Kotecha (Kenya)

TEAM KENYA:

MEN:

–  Ibrahim Kibet Yego

–  Kevin Cheruiyot

Fazal Mohammed Khan

Sheil Kotecha

WOMEN:

–   Caroline Oduor

–   Shufaa Changawa Ruwa

–  Paige Mbugua

Assistant coach –Peter Wachira

Head coach – Rose Mary Owino

Manager – Francis Mutuku