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Kotecha survives: Kenya cruises to the quarters after brushing aside South Africa’s Pretorius



Sneha Kotecha survived a second set scare to advance to the quarter finals after dismissing Suzanie Pretorius of South Africa 6-2,7-5 in the third round of the ongoing ITF East Africa Junior circuit at Nairobi Club.

Sneha had a glamorous start in the first set, conceding two games but the indefatigable Pretorius who had prior the third round match, played her rescheduled second round match, pushed the second set till the tie break but lost to the home girl. Pretorius had her second round match against Nicole Matukutire of Zimbabwe called off on Tuesday evening and was forced to complete it yesterday morning where she recovered from a set down to win 2-6,6-2,6-1, setting a date with Sneha in the third round.

The South African showed no signs of fatigue against Sneha but her returns in the opening set worked against her plans and could only reap two games.

She, however, resumed stronger in the second set, rallying from behind to push the match to a five-all draw but succumbed in the tie breaks to crash out of the tournament.

Despite riding on a superb form, Sneha insisted that she is yet to hit her best. “I am feeling a bit rusty and I am yet to be at my best. So far, so good. I am pleased with my progress and I hope I will be able to scoop another title at the end of the week. Today, the match was a little bit tough especially in the second set but I was calm and alert and won it at last.”

In the boys’ category, the remaining Kenyan in the tournament Albert Njogu was tossed out of the championship as he lost 6-2,7-6(5) to Mihaly Deli of Hungary in the third round.

It was not business as usual for the home boy who sailed to the final of the past leg held last week as he bowed to the Hungarian, who saw his forehand win him points as Njogu scattered them. Njogu admitted to have gotten his tactics wrong and shifted his focus to the doubles and the third leg slated for next week.

“It wasn’t a tough game but I have myself to blame for realising late that my tactics and positioning was wrong. He had good forehand and played short balls but I positioned myself at the far end of the court, making my returns simple while others went off. I have to focus on the doubles and prepare myself for the third leg.”

In other matches, top seed and Nairobi-based Burundian Abdoul Kabura sailed to the quarters after overpowering Zhanger Almashev of Kazakhstan 6-2,6-2 while second seed Sina Moghimi of Ireland also qualified to the last eight with a 5-7,6-3, 7-5 win over Taras Pakharenko of Ukraine. In the girls’ matches, top seed Burundian Aisha Niyonkuru beat Mekides Adane of Ethiopia 6-1, 6-4 to book a place in the quaters.

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