Sneha Kotecha was the sole home winner in Thursday’s final batch of quarterfinals in the ongoing Karen Open Tennis Championship been played at the Karen Country Club.
Kenya’s Kevin Cheruiyot, Sheil Kotecha and Judith Nkatha were all eliminated from the competition after losing in their respective last eight singles matches.
Sneha saw off the experienced Hoziane Kitambala of Burundi 6-3, 6-0 in their women’s singles quarterfinals match to book her slot in Saturday’s semi-final.
She will come up against second seed Cellestine Avomo Ella of Gabon, who beat Kenya’s Judith Nkatha 6-2, 6-1 in the other quarterfinal match. Sneha will be out to exact revenge on the Gabonese player who has won their last three meetings.
“Playing in a number of tournaments outside Kenya has helped my game and I will need to bring my ‘A’ game to beat Ella because she makes very few mistakes,” Sneha said.
The 15-year-old was expected to struggled against Kitambala but showed girt to down the Burundian in a match that lasted 64 minutes. The opening set was see-saw affair with both players exchanging leads to tie 3-3 after the sixth game.
However, the Kenyan backed by the home crowd broke clear in the seventh game and won the next three games to edge the opening set. The second set was one-sided to the delight of the home fans as the Kenyan teen displayed some impressive rallies and also saved seven match points.
Kitambala had no answer for Sneha’s favourite double backhand and looked relieved when she doubled faulted to hand Sneha a deserved win. Sneha’s win did not however inspire her compatriots as they found the going tough in their matches.
Her elder brother Sheil came up against Abdoul Kabura of Burundi but the third seeded Kenyan was overwhelmed by his eighth seeded opponent 6-4, 6-0.
Cheruioyt was always going have a tough duel with top seed Duncan Mugabe of Uganda and so it proved as he was outclassed 6-1, 6-1.
In wheelchair category, Kenyans Phoebe Masika and Jane Ndenga reached the semi-finals. Masika saw off compatriot Caroline Wanjira in her quarterfinal encounter to book a date with fellow home player Asiya Sururu. Ndenga will battle Tanzania’s Lucy Shirima in the other semis.
In Friday’s men’s singles semis, Kenyans Ismail Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet go head on for a place in Sunday’s final. Their encounter means that a Kenyan will definitely be in the final of the competition.
In the first women’s semi-final, Madagascar’s Narindra Ranaivo takes on Aisha Niyonkuru.