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Changwa siblings on course at Kenya Open

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By BRIAN YONGA
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The Changawa siblings- Ismael and Shufaa on Wednesday remained on course to reclaim their men and women’s singles titles at this year’s Britam Kenya Open Tennis Championship at the Nairobi Club.

Three-time women’s singles champion Shufaa Changawa was in imperious form as she saw off fellow Kenyan Cynthia Cheruto 6-1, 6-0 in Wednesday’s last eight encounter to cruise into Friday’s semi-finals.

The top seed, who has so far had a comfortable tournament, will face her first stern test of the competition against Madagascar’s Narindra Ranaivo in the semis.

The fourth- seeded islander was a 6-0, 6-2 winner over Kenyan-based Sudanese Achu Madhieu in their quarter-final encounter.

The 24-year-old Shufaa warned her opponents that the best is yet to come from her, as she bids to bounce back from last year’s semi-final loss.

“So far I have been cruising without hitting top gear but the tournament is now in its business end and I need to bring my A game,” Shufaa said after her quarter-final win.

“I fell at this hurdle (semi-final) last year and I want to make amends this year even as I look forward to playing another final,” she added.

The other women’s semi-final will be an all-Kenyan affair pitting close friends Alicia Owegi and second- seed Angela Okutoyi. Both players are into their first semi-finals and a place in the final will be the reward for a stunning season.

Okutoyi, fresh from winning the under-14 African title, will be the favourite having dispatched fifth-seed Mialy Ranaivo of Madagascar 6-2, 6-2 in their last eight clash, as Owegi crashed compatriot Esther Wahome 6-0, 6-0.

“To reach this stage at such a huge competition is quite achievement and whatever the result on Friday, it will be a moment to savour,” Owegi said.

In the men’s singles, Ismail led three other Kenyans into the last eight stage of the annual tourney. The top seed did not drop any game in his 6-0, 6-0 win over compatriot Samuel Urasa to book a quarter-final date with eighth seed, Burundi’s Cuma Issa.

“Everything is going according to plan and I hope we will have a home final on Saturday so that the title can come back here,” Ismail said. His last eight opponent beat home player Derrick Ominde 6-2, 7-5.

Second seed Ibrahim Kibet will come up against number 10 seed Frank Menard of Tanzania for a place in the last four.

The last two Kenyans into the last eight, Petty Andanda and Albert Njogu will face Burundi’s Shakul Kabura and Boris Aguma of Uganda respectively.

The week-long competition will come to a close on Saturday with the men’s winner pocketing Sh90,000 as the women’s champions goes home with Sh80,000.



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