Cheruiyot storms ITF junior championships semis


Kenya’s Kevin Cheruiyot beat Rwanda’s fifth seed Ernest Habiyambere 6-2, 6-4 to storm the semi-finals of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) East Africa Junior Circuit at the Nairobi Club on Thursday.

Cheruiyot was in imperious form brushing aside his opponent in an hour and ten minutes in the last eight clash to sail into the last four and keep the country’s hopes of winning the boys’ singles title.

Buoyed by the home crowd, the second seed did not disappoint as he dominated his opponent from the first set barely allowing the Rwandese time to fight back.

“It was one of those matches where everything just worked out well for me. I didn’t make many mistakes and that helped my game throughout,” a delighted Cheruiyot told Daily Nation Sport after his win.

“I think playing more matches outside the country has helped me to improve my game and that clearly showed today.”

Habiyambere, who eliminated Kenya’s Ryan Randiek in the second round, blamed his loss on poor decision making.

“I am not happy with how I played, I could have done much better and the numerous unforced errors did not help at all. Hopefully, I will come back stronger in the second leg,” the Rwandese said.

Rains forced Thursday’s matches to kick off three hours late but this did not affect the home boy who started dominating from the first match.

The home player raced into a 4-0 lead outwitting and outplaying his opponent who could not keep up with his powerful serves.

He did briefly rally back to take the next two matches but Cheruiyot saw off the first set after 40 minutes. The second set was competitive with Habiyambere racing into a 2-1 lead early on after reducing the mistakes he made in the first set.

He had the chance to go 3-1 but Cheruiyot saved three match points to take the next three games to hold a 4-3 lead.

From then on, Cheruiyot dominated forcing his opponent into a number of unforced errors winning the next two games comfortably to move to within two matches of the title.

Stephanie Mbaya, the other Kenyan remaining in the girls’ singles competition, was knocked out in the quarter-finals by Hala Fouard of Ireland 7-5, 7-5 in a pulsating match that lasted close to two hours.