• Judy Nkatha and Faith Nyabera bow out in second-round fixtures
• The tournament enters its fifth day at Peponi School, Ruiru today
Kenya’s hopes of bagging the ITF World Tennis Tour title went up in smoke as all the three remaining Kenyans in the event went out crushing in the second round at the Peponi school yesterday.
Kenya's top seed Angela Okutoyi succumbed to a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of a determined world number 10 Sada Nahimana of Burundi 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3) in one of the longest matches of the tournament.
Judy Nkatha went down 6-0, 6-0 to Netherlands Lexies Stephens before Faith Nyabera suffered a 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Nevena Scovic of Serbia. Okutoyi, who is Kenya Open champion dominated the opening set of the match that lasted two hours 11 minutes in ferocious conditions but the match changed direction after 18-year-old Nahimana won the second set before sealing a quarter-final spot on a tiebreak. Okutoyi started the match on a high, levelling the first set 2-2 before breaking to a 6-2 win.
The second set was highly dominated by the Burundian who led 3-0 before the 15-year-old Kenyan cut the lead to 3-2. But Nahimana, who is just coming from the Wimbledon Junior tournament used her experience to win the set 6-2.
Okutoyi led the third set 3-0 but Nahimana capitalised on Okutoyi’s numerous net serves to level 3-3. The set went in Okutoyi’s favour at 5-5 but the Burundian didn’t want to go down without a fight and took a 6-5 lead.
Nahimana got the job done and ended Kenya’s hopes of a quarter-final spot with a five-point win of 7-2 in the tie-break.
Despite the loss, Okutoyi was delighted with her performance. She said the loss has given her a clue on where she needs to improve.
“It was a good game. I gave it my best until when I started to play catch up especially in the second set. In the third set, I somehow thought that I will win it but my best was not good enough I guess,” she said.
Her coach Peter Wachira was also happy with the performance of Okutoyi
"The match was good. Okutoyi played really well against a player with a lot of experience. I am sure if she had the experience her opponent has we would be talking a different language. Again, it was a match that would have gone either way but all said and done, Okutoyi was fantastic this afternoon,” Wachira said.
On the losses of Nkatha and Nyabera, Wachira said the two didn’t play well and there are a few things they will need to work on. “Judy needs to work on her decision making as she got close to the net but didn’t know what to do,” he said.