By: BRIAN YONGA
Kenya’s Kevin Cheruiyot and Stephanie Mbaya on Wednesday sailed into the quarter-finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) East Africa Junior Circuit at the Nairobi Club.
The duo, who are the only Kenyans remaining at the event, comfortably won their respective boys’ and girls’ singles second round matches to maintain the country’s hopes of clinching the titles.
Second seed Cheruiyot beat Tanzania’s Emmanuel Mallya 6-3, 6-2 to sail into today’s last eight.
Cheruiyot was in imperious form dominating from the first match forcing his opponent into a number of errors.
The first set was over after half an hour with the crowds cheering on the home player who hit four aces to take the set.
The second set followed the same script with Cheruiyot completely dominating his opponent before cruising to victory in an hour and ten minutes.
The Mombasa-based teen had earlier in the day beat Abdoul Shakur Kabura of Burundi 6-3, 6-1 in their first round match which had been called off due to heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon.
Having taken the first set 6-3 before play was disrupted by rains, Cheruiyot was too strong for his opponent racing into a 5-0 lead as Kabura made a number of unforced errors.
“The competition at this year’s event is very high and every match is like a final. I am taking a game at a time. Hopefully, I can go all the way to the final,” Cheruiyot said after his second round win.
“Playing on home soil is not really an advantage because I know the competition will get tough as the tourney moves forward.”
Fifth seed Mbaya on the other hand beat Hella Ghofrani of Iran 6-4, 6-4 in a closely contested match to sail into the quarter-finals.
Mbaya, playing in her final juniors’ event, needed to be at her best to stop the big serving Iranian who was making her debut at the tourney.
Kenya’s Ryan Randiek and Oliver Kigotho were eliminated in their respective second round matches.
Randiek went down 3-6, 0-6 to fifth seed Ernest Habiyambere of Rwanda while Kigotho’s run at the event was brought to an end by Iranian Armin Rostami 6-4, 6-4.
Boys’ top seed Sheif Makhlouf also advanced to the third round after recording a 6-2, 6-4 win over Burundi’s Ntamba Radjabu on center court. Sixth seed Paulius Matulevicius of Lithuania saw off Iran’s Amir Mohammad Adabjou 6-1, 6-3 to also book his slot in the third round.
Eighth seed Thembo Makhanya was upset by unseeded Fernando Andre of Angola 7-5, 1-6, 3-6.
The week-long event comes to a close on Saturday.
SOURCE: DAILY NATION