Kenya’s Sheil Kotecha on Tuesday advanced to the second round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) African Junior Closed Championship in Tunisia.
Kotecha beat Ahmed Mouhan of Mauritius in the boys’ singles first round to sail into the second round of the annual continental event. The Kenyan attributed his win to playing in many competitions since the start of the year.
“It was a great result and I’m glad I got the break in the second set that helped me clinch victory, the experience of playing in many tournaments has helped my game improve,” Kotecha told Daily Nation Sport on phone.
The Kenyan started strongly racing to a 3-0 lead in the first set breaking Mouhan severally with his powerful serve. However, his opponent hit back to level to three all in the sixth match. He went in front in the seventh match to take a 4-3 lead as Kotecha struggled with a number of faults.
However, Kotecha returned stronger to take the next three matches and the set in 45 minutes. The second set was equally contested with both players guilty of a number of unforced errors. Kotecha held his nerve to win the set on tie break with an impressive return forehand to clinch the set and a place in the second round.
Kotecha will take on fourth seed Richard Thongoana of South Africa in the second round as he bids to reach the third round on Wednesday.
It was however not a good day for Kenya’s Olivier Kigotho who was eliminated in the first round after going down 0-6, 0-6 to Mauritius’ Amaury De Beer in another boys’ first round encounter.
Kenya’s top seed Kevin Cheruiyot, who is seeded 11th in the competition, got a bye in the first round and will take on Mohamed Belcora of Tunisia in another second round boys’ encounter.
“Playing in such competitions will improve my game and ranking. I am hoping to make the best of this event and also go far in the event,” Cheruiyot said.
The Kenyan will team up with South Africa’s Bertus Kruger as they take on Tunisia’s Ahmed Amine Herress and Yassir Kilani in the second round of the boys’ doubles competition.
Kotecha and Kigotho were eliminated in the first round of the boys’ doubles event after a 4-6, 6-2, 8-10 loss to Tunisia’s Mohamed Selim Ben Ali and Zakaria Ben Ebrahim.