• Changawa anticipates a relatively easy match today against Algeria.
• What was supposed to be an easy opener against Madagascar turned out to be a battle of sorts for the hosts.
Kenya’s top seed Ismael Changawa anticipates a relatively easy match today against Algeria after serving off their bid to qualify for the Euro/Africa Group II with a 2-1 win in the Davis Cup tourney.
What was supposed to be an easy opener against Madagascar turned out to be a battle of sorts for the hosts, who had to unleash their dreaded artillery in the second singles game and the doubles to edge the Malagasy side.
The tournament was officially opened by the Sports Cabinet Secretary Dr Amina Mohammed who pledged to accelerate the construction of artificial courts at the Moi International Sports Stadium, Kasarani commissioned last year by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) boss David Hagerty.
Yesterday, the Kenyan boys who had qualified last year before the victory was overturned edged the Islanders courtesy of a 6-4,6-3 win by Kevin Cheruiyot who saw off Lucas Andriamasilalao before Changawa survived a third set scare to beat Jean-Jacques Rakotohasy 6-1, 2-6,7-6(2) in the second singles match.
The duo of Albert Njogu and Ibrahim Kibet surrendered a one set lead to succumb 6-4, 3-6 and 7-6 (6) to the pair of Antso Rakotondramanga and Toky Ranaivo.
Changawa, who revealed that history against Algeria was leaning in their favour predicted yet another successful outing over the visitors by virtue of playing at home and being privy to their strengths and weaknesses.
“It was tough against Madagascar especially my match, where I almost lost due to complacency.
"After winning my first set, I expected an easy one in the second set but he stepped up and maintained the rhythm in the third set.
"I managed to counter him in the tie break. We come up against Algeria today and I am honestly expecting an easy match. I think we have comfortably beaten them in the past five meetings and hopefully, we will extend the dominance.
"I have had the privilege of playing their best and I know their strengths and weaknesses,” he said.
The Kenyan team head coach Rosemary Owino, meanwhile, cautioned his players against setting their sights on the ultimate price and in turn, asked them to focus on one game at a time.
“We are playing at home which gives us an edge and we have to make that advantage count. At stake is qualification but I want the players to take each match at a time.”