Kenya’s Angela Okutoyi on Saturday won the first leg of the International Tennis Federation Juniors tourney after a 6-1, 6-4 win over Aisha Niyonkuru of Burundi in the final at Nairobi Club.
“I had to be alert throughout the match because she is a very good player. I am happy I won, but I still have another task next week which I am excited about, because I perform better with challenges,” said Okutoyi.
The 15-year-old Kenya Open champion was too much for the Burundian native, who is ranked 188 in the world, and had thrashed Madagascar's Corrine Ranaivo 6-1, 6-0 in Friday's semi finals.
Okutoyi dominated the court with strong serves that threw off the 17-year-old Niyonkuru in the first set, where she struggled with speed and low ad well as wide stabs served by her opponent.
Niyonkuru showed a great game in the first three games of the second set making a comeback with her popular back hand stabs and powerful swings that surprised Okutoyi, until she got her footing back coming back to wrap up the second set.
It proved to be double success for the Kenyan as she teamed up with Niyonkuru to outclass Celine Simunyu of Ireland Alyssa Reguer of France 6-3, 6-2 in the doubles final.
The match was characterised with strong serves from Okutoyi and Niyonkuru, who displayed great balance of skill on the court. Niyonkuru’s speed and Okutoyi’s accuracy in her stabs overwhelmed their opponents.
“I enjoy the doubles match more because you have someone to correct your errors immediately and it’s always fun doing it with a good player,” said Niyonkuru.
Sixteen-year-old Toky Ranaivo of Madagascar, ranked 361 in the world, beat Belgium's Alessio Basile in three straight sets of 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 in the boys' singles final.
Basile, ranked 1128 in the world, put up a good fight in the first set of the match, but seemed to lose his game in the last two sets, where Ranaivo took over with powerful unchallenged serves and low and narrow swings.
"The first leg has been extremely smooth for me, I am hoping next week's competitions will be more challenging and exciting, but I am always in training mode so that my opponents don't catch me off guard," said Ranaivo.
“My opponent was a tough one to crack and I slightly suffered from fatigue after my semi-final yesterday, but I am looking to redeem myself in the next leg,” said Basile.
In the boys' doubles, 15-year-old Devin Badenhorst and Anro Nel both from South Africa took down the duo of Charllie Penman (Great Britain) and 16-year-old Andreas Scott of South Africa in three sets of 4-6, 7-6 (5), 10-7.
The second league of the three-legged tourney will commence next week on Monday at the same venue.