Kenya’s Angela Okutoyi and Cynthia Wanjala outclassed their opponents to reach the second round of the ongoing International Tennis Federation (ITF) women’s tournament on Wednesday at the Peponi School, Ruiru.
Fifteen-year-old Okutoyi won a one set match against Sofia Dmitrieva of Russia with a 6-2 score after her opponent retired due to a medical emergency.
“I guess the universe was on my side today because I knew she is a tough opponent,” said Okutoyi. The 25-year-old Sofia Dmitrieva, who is ranked sixth n the world and was also the same seed at this tourney, claimed that if it wasn’t for the medical inconvenience, she would have thrashed Okutoyi.
“I came for the match feeling optimistic but my body failed me in between, it was beyond my control," said Dmitrieva.
The match was characterised by Okutoyi’s strong front hand strokes and serves and Dmetrieva’s speed and accurate strokes.
Cynthia Wanjala also beat her opponent Mariana Borges from Brazil in a two set match that ended 6-3, 7-5 in favour of the Kenyan.
Wanjala qualified for the main draw after she beat Shania Kaur Gadhia in the qualifying matches on Monday this week.
“I never expected to win today, but I still put in my best and made use of my training lessons,” said Wanjala.
According to Wanjala, Wednesday's match was tougher than her qualifying match, since it’s easier playing against a Kenyan than a foreigner.
“We all train together as Kenyans and therefore I master all their techniques making it easier to play them,” she added.
Both Mariana Borges and Cynthia Wanjala showed great improvements in their serves, strokes and speed in comparison to last week's matches.
The second round matches are set for Thursday with Wanajala facing fourth seed Lexie Stevens from the Netherlands, who is ranked 887 in the world.
Another Kenyan, Roselida Asumwa who lost 6-2, 6-2 to Diana Maria of Romania will be pair with her sister Angela Okutoyi to play against Paulina Jastrzebska of Poland and Tiffany William of Great Britain in the doubles quarter-final.
Kenya Open champion Angela Okutoyi will face Sravya Shivari Chilakalapudi from India in a singles second round clash, while Judith Nkatha will face Paulina Jastrzebska from Poland.
Alicia Owegi will team up with Shania Kaur Gadhia to battle Mahak Jain and Sathwika Sama both from India in their doubles last eight match.