Sneha Kotecha storms junior championship third round

Tuesday January 19 2016

Kenya’s Sneha Kotecha. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Kenya’s Sneha Kotecha. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya’s Sneha Kotecha on Tuesday advanced to the third round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) 18 and under East Africa Junior Circuit at the Nairobi Club.

The home player beat French girl Rania Azziz 7-6(4), 6-1 in their girls’ singles second round match.

However, it was despair for Kenya’s Albert Njogu as he went down 3-6, 2-6 to Great Britain’s Damian Rodriguez in the boys’ single second round encounter.

Four home players had been eliminated in the first round on Monday leaving Kotecha and Njogu as some of the remaining Kenyan star players in the first leg of the international competition which has attracted 85 players from different countries across the globe.

Kotecha had taken a 2-1 lead in the first set before rain disrupted play on the centre court. On resumption, Kotecha extended her lead to 4-1 to the delight of the cheering home crowd. However, Azziz hit back to level to 4-4 after saving a number of match points and capitalising on the Kenyan’s errors.

Azziz’s resurgence saw her take the lead in the set for the first time as she moved to 5-4 but she was unable to take advantage as she hit a number of double faults allowing the Kenyan back into the tie. Kotecha took full advantage and saw off the set 7-6 in an hour and 40 minutes.

The second set was rather straightforward for the home girl as her powerful serve proved to be too much for her opponent and the set was over in the next 50 minutes.

The win takes Kotecha to the third round of the competition.

“It was a tough match, the rain made the playing surface a bit difficult but I managed to compose myself and followed my coach’s instructions of putting the pressure on my opponent,” Kotecha told Daily Nation Sport after the win.

Njogu was outclassed in his second round tie after he failed to sparkle.

Kenya’s top seed at the event Kevin Cheruiyot was due in action last evening with other home players Rueben Njuguna, Sheil Kotecha and Alissa Thakker also in action.

In other results, Samar Qaedizadeh of Canada beat Serbian Doroteja Joksovic 6-2, 7-6(5) in the girls’ encounter while Karine Marion Job of France saw off Poland’s Novak Wiktoria 6-7,7-6(5),6-1 in another second round girls’ match.

The first leg ends on Saturday with the next two legs to follow over the next two weeks.