Sports

Mixed fortunes for Kenya on Day Two of ITF Women’s World Tour at Karen Country Club


NAIROBI, Kenya, December 11 – Kenya’s Alicia Owegi went down gallantly at the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s World Tour W25 tournament, losing 2-6 2-6 to Slovakia’s Viktoria Morvayova at the Karen Country Club on Monday afternoon.

The United States-based Owegi – who came into the clash as a wildcard – was no match for the Slovak whose experience eventually told as she edged the thrilling round of 32 encounter to progress to the next round.

It was not all doom for the hosts though as Stacey Yego was given a walkover into the next round due to the unavailability of her challenger, American Samantha Nloga Imbo.

At the same time, second seed Sada Nahimana of Burundi breezed past Frenchwoman Lucie Tan Nguyen 6-4 6-4 to qualify for the next round.

Another African, Martin Shana Mao of Tanzania was powerless against third seed Gaia Squarcialupi, going down 4-6 0-6 to the Italian in just over an hour.

Kenya’s Alicia Owegi reacts during her match against Slovakia’s Viktoria Morvayova at the ITF Women’s World Tour. PHOTO/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Kenya will be hoping for more positive news on Tuesday when star player – Wimbledon Open doubles junior champion – Angela Okutoyi takes to the court.

Players have an opportunity to garner ITF and World Tennis Association (WTA) ranking points, which will be crucial towards transitioning into professional ranks of the sport.

Slovakia’s Viktoria Morvayova plays a backhand to Kenya’s Alicia Owegi. PHOTO/RAYMOND MAKHAYA

Tournament director Martha Tirop said the two-week competition is a perfect chance for young players to get a taste of what it feels like to compete at the top level.

“It is an entry level to professional tennis. It is an important pathway for players to consider whether they want to go professional or simply want to play tennis as a pastime or for fitness purposes,” she said.

The tournament has attracted 64 players from 32 countries worldwide, with half of them having competed in a qualifying draw on Sunday, at the same venue.

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