Ish­mael bows out

End of the road for Kenyan play­ers as Africa Na­tions Cup reaches semi-fi­nals

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports Local - BY WIL­LIAM NJUGUNA @mbote­s­ports

Kenya play­ers fell by the way­side as the Africa Na­tions ten­nis tour­na­ment en­tered the quar­ter-fi­nal stage yes­ter­day at the Nairobi Club.

Kenya best player Ish­mael Changawa lost to Morocco’s Amine Ahouda 6-2, 6-0 in the quar­ter-fi­nals to bid the event good­bye. Changawa, buoyed by the sup­port of the home crowd, started well, break­ing the Moroc­can serve to take an early 2-0 lead.

Ahouda fought back to win the third and fourth games hence tied the match at 2-2. From there, the Moroc­can dom­i­nated the match as he pounded sev­eral win­ners past Changawa to win the fifth game and take a 3-2 lead.

The United States-based player then made sev­eral un­forced er­rors in the sixth game to trail 4-2 and from here the Ahouda kept his cool to win the fi­nal two games to seal the set.

A fired-up Ahouda came out fir­ing on all cylin­ders in the sec­ond set as he toyed with Changawa to romp into the semi­fi­nals. In an in­ter­view, Changawa ad­mit­ted he had lost to a bet­ter op­po­nent. “I fought hard in the match but made er­rors at crit­i­cal stages of the en­counter and he ex­ploited them to his ad­van­tage,” added Changawa.

Sheil Kotecha bat­tled hard but lost out to Moez Echaragui of Tu­nisia 7-6 ( 1 ), 6-1. Kotecha went toeto-toe with the North African in the first set with the play go­ing to serve in the tie break, where the North African held his serve to come out tops.

Kotecha looked to have run out of steam in sec­ond set as he strug­gled to keep up pace with the in­ten­sity.

Echaragui broke his serve early and raced to a 4-0 lead be­fore Kotecha man­aged to get a re­prieve in the fifth game to re­duce the mar­gin 4-1. Kotecha hopes of a come­back were even­tu­ally ex­tin­guished in the fi­nal two games as the Tu­nisian sailed to the semis.

It was dou­ble de­light for Tu­nisia as top seed Chi­raz Bechri elim­i­nated Sh­u­faa Changawa 6-1, 6-3 in the women’s cat­e­gory. Sh­u­faa bat­tled hard es­pe­cial in the sec­ond set but even­tu­ally crum­bled against her op­po­nent.

The Kenyans team will now turn their at­ten­tion to the dou­bles cat­e­gory and the team cat­e­gory, where they are favoured to do well.

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