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Mahak seals ITF Tour double at Peponi



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Jain Mahak of India swept aside Burundi’s Sada Nahimana in straight sets to win the second leg of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Women’s Tour at Peponi School, Kiambu County on Sunday.

Mahak, who won the first leg last weekend, tore through Nahimana 6-1, 6-1 to seal a double and once again pocket Sh1.5million ($15,000) in prize money.

The 18-year-old Nahimana, who reached the second round at the 2018 Wimbledon Junior, also met Mahak in the first leg final where she lost 6-1, 6-4.

“It was more of a mental game because she played with my emotions from the beginning and distracted my focus,” said Nahimana.

Nahimana, ranked 33rd in the ITF world junior ranking, had been consistent with her wins since the beginning of the tournament but that changed in the final where she met a composed Mahak.

The 18-year-old Mahak deployed her trademark forehand and firm serves across the court to destabilise Nahimana who is popular for her two hand-backhand swings.

“The match turned out to be easier than I expected once I discovered her weakness. I think she also let her emotions get the best of her which worked to my advantage,” said Mahak.

In the second leg semi-finals, Mahak beat Fiona Codino of France in straight sets 6-1, 4-0 while Nahimana overcame India’s Sravya Chilakalapudi 6-2, 6-1.

Tennis Kenya secretary general Wanjiru Karani said the tournament was a good test for Team Kenya ahead of African Games in Morocco this week.

“We now have very high expectations for the African games, we are hoping to be in the medal bracket since our men’s team has also been in training in both Morocco and Spain for the last three weeks. Both teams have now collected world ranking points which is important when doing the seeding in Morocco,” said Karani.

Tennis Kenya President James Kenani termed the tournament a success and remains optimistic of hosting next year’s edition.

“It’s been a great two weeks of tennis but our hope is that we will host the Women’s World Tour next year that will run for 4 weeks just like other professional tournaments,” said Kenani, who was elated at the international exposure Kenyans got from the tournament. “It’s definitely easier when we host these tournaments here because our players sometimes find it difficult to enter tournaments away from home,” noted Kenani.

The Kenyan women’s tennis team comprising of Angela Okutoyi, Faith Nyabera, Judith Nkatha and Alicia Owegi will jet out to Morocco on Tuesday to represent the country in the African Games.

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