Top seed Cheruiyot exits African Junior Championship

The Kenyan top seed was defeated in the doubles quarterfinals alongside Bertus Kruger of SA.

Thursday February 11 2016

Kenyan top seed Kevin Cheruiyot returns a serve against Razvan Baiant of Canada in the  ITF Under-18 East Africa Junior circuit match at Nairobi Club on January 21, 2016. Cheruiyot, who was the sole remaining player in the event was defeated in the boys’ doubles quarterfinals alongside his partner Bertus Kruger of South Africa. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |

Kenyan top seed Kevin Cheruiyot returns a serve against Razvan Baiant of Canada in the ITF Under-18 East Africa Junior circuit match at Nairobi Club on January 21, 2016. Cheruiyot, who was the sole remaining player in the event was defeated in the boys’ doubles quarterfinals alongside his partner Bertus Kruger of South Africa. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya’s participation at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) and Confederation of African Tennis (CAT) African Junior Closed Championship in Tunisia was on Thursday brought to a premature halt.

The country’s top seeded junior player Kevin Cheruiyot who was the sole remaining Kenyan player in the event, was defeated in the boys’ doubles quarterfinals alongside his partner Bertus Kruger of South Africa.

The duo went down 2-6, 2-6 to Tunisia’s Youssef Hossam and Mohamed Abdel-Aziz in a last eight encounter to exit the annual continental junior event.

It was tough luck for the pair who had seen off Tunisian opponents, Ahmed Amine Herress and Yassir Kilani 6-3, 6-4 in the previous round.

INEXPERIENCE, POOR DECISION MAKING

Speaking to Nation Sport on Thursday on phone from Tunisia, the Mombasa-born player blamed the defeat on inexperience and poor-decision in crucial points during the encounter.

“We were up against the top two ranked players in the competition and the experience they have got playing in many competitions helped them especially in the second set,” he said.

“Overall, we played well and we can take a lot of positives from our performances from this competition.”

IMPRESSIVE SERVES

Cheruiyot and his South African counterpart were in trouble from the opening set as the home players hit top gear raking a 4-0 lead with some impressive serves.

They went 5-0 up in the next game before their opponents finally settled and won the next two games to bring the scores to 5-2.

Top seed Hossam back hand serve saw the Tunisians take the first set in which they hit 32 match winners to their opponents 6 to underline their dominance.

The second set was also largely one sided with the Tunisians largely untroubled and they went to on to see out the match in 46 minutes.

Fifth seed Kruger however made amends in his third round singles match beating Mohamed Aboul Kassem 6-1, 6-0 to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Kenyan trio of Cheruiyot, Sheil Kotecha and Olivier Kigotho were all eliminated in the boys’ singles category.

Kenya was not represented in the girls’ competition.