Kenyan lads win Davis Cup opener

Kenya got off her campaign in the Davis Cup Africa Zone Group 3 Tennis Championship with an impressive 3-0 win over Bostwana at the Solaimaneyah Club in Cairo on Monday night.

The trio of Sheil Kotecha, Ismail Changawa and Ibrahim Kibet were in impressive form as they swept aside their Southern African opponents in their Pool B opener on the first day of competition.

The impressive Kotecha, who is Kenya’ number two player in the competition, was first up on court in the opening rubber against Lefa Ashley Sibanda and the Kenyan comfortably saw off his opponent 6-0, 6-2 in the 76 minute contest.

Next up was Kenya’s number one ranked player Ismail Changawa up against 17-year-old Innocent Tidimane, who was playing his first Davis Cup Singles tie, having previously been involved in the Doubles competition.

It turned out to be a nightmare debut for Tidimane as Changawa barely broke sweat as he cruised to a 6-0,6-0 win. With Kenya up 2-0, Changawa teamed up with Kibet putting the icing on the cake as they overcame Aobakwe Lekang and Bayani Moilwa 6-1, 6-1 in the doubles category to complete the clean sweep for Kenya.

Kenyan coach Rosemary Owino was impressed with the good start noting that it will give her charges the confidence for the rest of the competition.

“It is always important to establish a good start in any championship and we did that impressively. The boys were fantastic and if we keep up like this, we have a shot of gaining promotion,” an elated Owino told Nation Sport on Tuesday via phone from Cairo.

“The competition will get tougher as the days progress but we are up to the challenge and promise to give our all,” the tactician added.

Kenya also beat Botswana at last year’s competition held in Madagascar.

Kenya play Algeria on Tuesday in their second Pool encounter. Other teams in the pool include Benin and Libya. Pool A has favourites Egypt, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Rwanda.

The winners of each pool earn promotion to Group 2 of the World Cup of Tennis.

They will also face off in a final to determine the winner of the competition which ends on July 22. Kenya is taking part in the competition for the fourth time. Last year, the country finished third in its group missing out on promotion.

In 2013, the team again stumbled at the group stages after defeats to Ghana and Zimbabwe. The country’s best performance was in 1992 when they clawed their way to the semi-finals of the Euro Africa Zone Group I, just one group away from the World Group play-offs.

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