Okutoyi leads Kenyan onslaught at World Tennis Tour

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Kenya will have three representatives as the main draw of the first ever ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour (W25) tournament in the country enters the second day at the Karen Country Club on Monday.

Angella Okutoyi, Stacy Yego and Alicia Owegi will fly the country’s flag in the first of the two tournaments. 

On Sunday, Stacy Yego met compatriot Roselida Asumwa and stunned the USA-based player 6-2, 3-6, 10-8 in one hour and 39 minutes in the day’s opening match in the qualifying draw as Faith Urasa and Cynthia Wanjala all crashed out.

Junior Wimbledon Doubles winner Okutoyi and Owegi earned wild cards to the first round.  Okutoyi is Asumwa’s twin sister and the two are members of Karen Country Club after being awarded a three-year membership in August 2022.

Yego, whose Australia-based brother Ibrahim Kibet has played for Kenya Davis Cup team since 2012, was not only clinical with her serves, but double-faulted just twice compared to Asumwa’s seven times in a fairly balanced match.

The 15-year-old entered the main draw without breaking a sweat in the second qualifying round after getting a walkover against American top-seed Samantha Imbo,20. The ITF Supervisor (Referee) Patrick Kamuhia told Nation Sport that Imbo was not able to get her visa on time.

Okutoyi and Yego will know their first round main draw opponents on Monday after the qualifier matches have been played and the draw completed.

Wild card Owegi faces Slovakian Viktoria Morvayova in the first round of the main draw with the winner playing second-seeded Sada Nahimana from Burundi or Lucie Nguyen (France).

Urasa bowed out after losing 7-5, 6-0 against Puerto Rican Ametmarie Perez after relinquishing the lead at 5-4 in the first set. She won 22 percent of her service games compared to Perez’s 67. Up next for Perez is second-seeded Dutchwoman Emma van Poppel,22, for a place in the main draw.

In other first round qualifying matches on Sunday, Japanese fifth-seed Nagomi Higashitani overpowered Rwandan Sonia Tuyishime 6-0, 6-0, Italian sixth-seed Matilde Mariano saw off Indian ninth-seed Nidhitra Rajmohan 6-0, 6-1, as Swiss 11th-seed Sophie Luescher beat eighth-seeded Elizaveta Koklina 6-0, 6-0.

Tanzanian sensation Shana Mao, 18, proved too good for Yvonne Tagoe, 27, outshining the Ghanaian 6-2, 6-1.

The battle between seventh-seed Stefanie Auer (Austria) and Anastasiya Kuparev (Germany) ended with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-6 victory for the former, while Wanjala succumbed to a 6-3, 6-1 loss at the hands of Canadian Love-Star Alexis.

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