Changawa siblings through to African Nations quarters
The Changawa siblings of Shufaa and Ismail on Tuesday sailed through to the singles quarterfinals of the ongoing 2016 African Nations Cup (CAN) in Nairobi, Kenya.
Shufaa and her brother are the only medal hopes in the men and women’s singles category with Ibrahim Kibet joining the latter in the semi finals of the men’s doubles.
Kibet was knocked out of the singles by Ali Bellalouna Mohamed of Tunisia but managed to qualify to the doubles last four after teaming up with countryman Ismail.
The US-based elder Changawa will be the men’s flag bearer in the men’s singles after beating Ivan Matata of Congo 6-3, 7-6 (5) in a match the local top seed was stretched all the way, confirming victory by taking the second set on tie-break.
He will play against Amine Ahouda of Morocco in the last eight as the national champion targets to add the continental crown.
“I will try giving my best, stay focused and win the tournament. I live in the USA, where there is a tournament every week, hard competition but I was number one in all America.
“I came and won for my school here as well as the US nationals in Arizona. I will try to get the best for myself and Kenyans,” Ismail stated.
In the afternoon, he teamed up with Kibet to dispatch Ethiopians Abdella Nedim and Melkamu Sereche 6-2, 6-0 in the men’s doubles to set up a semi final clash against Abdoul Shakur and Fabrice Tuyishime on Wednesday.
“Yesterday’s (Monday) game was good. It was a tough because the kid plays full time in a centre in Morocco and despite my injury I played well. I have an injury on my wrist but I will focus because we still have team events and we hope to win those too.
“Today’s (Tuesday) win was good because I’m feeling better and it makes my partner feel better too and we were both on top.
“We have played doubles together since juniors until now, and have won a couple of titles together. We still want to win tomorrow and its tough out here, and we are at hope and it will be a bonus for us. I have high hopes to win at home,” Kibet added.
Shufaa is the only local female player after breezing past Admon Marie of Ivory Coast in straight sets of 6-2, 6-1 to advance to the last eight where she will play Chiraz Bechri of Tunisia on Wednesday afternoon.
Katerina Karanja suffered a major disappointment in the women’s singles when she was crushed 6-0, 6-1 by Nancy Onya of Congo.
Peige Mbugua was also bundled out of the tournament after Moroccan Lilya Hadab tore through her 6-1, 6-1 with Faith Nyabera also not being spared by Moroccan Rita Atik as she surrendered to a 6-0, 6-2 defeat.
To compound the pain for Kenyan women on the court, Shufaa and Paige lost their women’s double showdown against Chiraz Bechri and Ferdaous Bahri of Tunisia 6-4, 6-2 in a close contest.
Congolese pair Nancy Onya and Magali Ilumbe turned over local girls Karanja and Faith Nyabera 6-3, 6-0 ending Kenya’s hopes of featuring in the quarters of the women’s double competition.
-Report by Elizabeth Mbugua
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