Kenyan players posted mixed results in the second round of the International Tennis Federation Juniors tourney that kicked off Thursday at the Nairobi club.
Ryan Ateto opened the boys' singles matches by thrashing Iran’s Mani Parasarvesh 4-6, 6-1 (10-4), while Whycliffe Okenye lost 4-6, 4-6 to Paul Brunel of Cameroon.
In the girls' singles, Angela Okutoyi dominated the court winning 7-6 (9) 6-0 against Miotisoa Rasendra of Madagascar, while Cynthia Wanjala lost 0-6, 1-6 to Burundi’s Aisha Niyonkuru.
The short, but stout 17-year-old Ateto easily took the lead in the match with strong serves and high fore hand stabs against Parsarvesh, who constantly responded to the attacks with his double handed backhand swings spicing up the two sets.
Iran’s Parsarvesh swiftly, but steadily challenged Ateto’s serves and stabs with immaculate speed and a strong fore hand enabling him win four of the games in the first set.
“I have never played my opponent before so I did not know what to expect and I was worried about being rusty, but I am happy I got through the second round because I am now more confident going forward,” said Ateto.
However, round two matches started on a bad note for Kenya’s Okenye who painfully lost to Cameroon’s Brunel in an effortless two straight sets match that proved to be easy for the 18-year-old Brunel, ranked 1398 in the world.
The 17-year-old Okenye suffered in the hands of the Cameroonian native as Brunel maintained his stamina on the court serving high and wide stabs that were a challenge for Okenye, who struggled with his fore hand stabs and weak serves throughout the match.
"At least I was more consistent with the balls but I did not move as fast as expected, giving him advantage but I have noted my errors and now aim to improve," said Okenye.
The 15-year-old Kenya Open champion Okutoyi ranked 386 (Juniors) in the world played heartily against her opponent Rasendra in a short, but sweet two set match (three games each).
“The match was fairly good with my opponent put up a good fight challenging me to improve my serves to get a win,” said Okutoyi.
The heated match was characterised by Okutoyi’s strong fore hand prowess which worked in her favour swinging wide and low stabs that threw 13-year-old Rasendra off.
Cynthia Wanjala was both surprised and disappointed in her performance since she had started off well in the first round beating Croatia’s Kartarina Zuzul in straight sets of 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 on Monday.
Wanjala, ranked 2794 in the world, struggled with speed against her 17-year-old opponent Niyonkuru, who was fast on her feet and was consistent with her serves that had great spin and acceleration throughout the match.
“I honestly don’t know what happened today, I thought I had it but she seemed more prepared especially with her serves that continuously surprised me,” said Wanjala.
Niyonkuru, ranked 188 in the world, gave Wanjala a tough time on the court proving her prowess with immaculate speed and accuracy in her back hand stabs throwing off 14-year-old Wanjala.
Opening qualifying matches, which were set for last weekend, were cancelled and the organisers forced to skip to the next level of first round played on Monday due to fear of losing time with the courts being affected with the occasion downpour.