Khan loses all opening matches at AAG trials

By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jul 13, 2021
  • Fazal Khan lost all his opening matches as the trials for All Africa Games started at Nairobi Club. He blamed the loss to lack of training in rainy Mombasa. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

  • Shufaa Changawa only has qualification for the All Africa Games on her mind. Her brother, Ishmael already has a direct qualification. (Photo by Shutterspeed)

It was a day of high drama on the opening day of the All Africa Games tennis trials as Kenya's  second seed Fazal Khan lost all his opening matches as the tournament served off at the Nairobi Club on Monday.

The trials which have been organized by Tennis Kenya are being used to select the final team to the continental bonanza in Brazzaville, Congo in September.

At the Nairobi Club, Kenya’s top 12 players are fighting for the available four slots in the women's and three in the men's categories. The men's players are battling for three slots after U.S.-based Ishmael Changawa was given a direct entry by virtue of his recent performance and results.

As the trials started, Khan who has been outstanding since the last All Africa Games and having not lost any match to a Kenyan since then, he came into the trials as one of the favorites.

But this impressive track record meant little to Ibrahim Kibet and Sheil Kotecha who beat him to put his chances of bagging one of the three slots in serious doubt. In the first match, Khan who didn’t drop a match in the first round held last month went down 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 to a  much improved Kibet before falling 6-7, 6-2, 6-4 to Kotecha.

Khan blamed the loss to the current weather in Mombasa which has made it difficult for him to train. “The rains that have been going on in Mombasa for the last three weeks have made it hard for me to train. I had to move to Nairobi to come and train.

But by the time I got to Nairobi the tournament was up and ready,” Khan said. “It was really tough for me to find a rhythm,” Khan said. “After winning the first sets in the two matches, Kibet and Kotecha raised their game and wasn’t able to catch them.”

The Mombasa-based player was all praise of his opponents saying they showed a lot skills and always looked confident on the court. Khan’s next matches will be against Ronny Ndiya, Kevin Cheruiyot and Allan Saha.

Cheruiyot had a good day

Kenya's number one junior player Cheruiyot also had a good day winning his first match 6-3, 6-3 against Ndinya.

Cheruiyot who is also yet to lose any match on Kenyan soil this year said he was happy with his performance in the first match and was upbeat of a good show in the remaining matches.

Former number one junior player Ndinya complicated his chances of making it to the final squad for the games when he lost to Kotecha 6-2, 6-1. He will need to beat Saha, Khan and Kibet if he is to stand any chance of making the cut.

Ndinya was disappointed by his performance saying things didn’t work well for him throughout the day. “I had many faulty serves in the first match while in the second match I wasn’t good with my judgment. I think my opponent realized this early and took advantage of it. By the time I realized he had taken the game away from me,” Ndinya exlained.

In the women's matches, Shufaa Changawa who has won four titles since last year, started the event on a sound note by beating Judy Nkatha 6-2, 6-3 to enhance her chances of qualification.

A confident Changawa said qualifying for the game is what was on her mind and she will do her best to bag one of the four tickets. “I am happy with my current form. I won’t stop on anything else but qualification, “Changawa who won all her first round matches in June told

Paige Mbugua registered mixed results in the game when she beat Evelyn Otula 6-3, 6-3 before going down 6-2, 6-0 to Caroline Oduor.