Okutoyi-led Team Kenya get perfect start in 2024 Billie Jean King Cup as Burundi stun Tunisia

10th June 2024

Kenya proved to be too good for Mauritius as 11th placed Burundi beat second-seeded Tunisia.

Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| Joe Mburu
Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| Joe Mburu
  • Okutoyi only needed fourty minutes to record her win.
  • Cynthia Cheruto put Kenya in the control seat with a win in the first Singles match.
  • Alicia Owegi and Roselida Asumwa completed the job in the Doubles tie.
  •  Kenya will take on a hurting Tunisia in the highlight clash of the day on Tuesday.

Team Kenya, led by the reigning African tennis champion Angella Okutoyi, could not have asked for a better start to the 2024 Billie Jean King Cup tournament being hosted at the Nairobi Club as they breezed past Mauritius with a 3-0 win in their opening Pool B match played on Monday.

Local-based star Cynthia Cheruto overcame some early nerves to put Kenya in the control seat following a straight set 6-3, 6-1 victory over 14-year-old Anna Chan Kwai Siong in the first Singles match.

The match saw both players fail to hold serve in the opening six games but Cheruto managed to get the break when it mattered most and held on for victory.

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Okutoyi was then too hot to handle for Tejaswini Jessoo as she only needed fourty minutes in bagelling her 6-0, 6-0 in the second Singles match with the Kenyan’s class on show for everyone to see.

In the Doubles tie, Roselida Asumwa and Alicia Owegi then ensured Kenya got the clean win with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Reese Desaubin and Jessoo, sending the team top of Pool B.

“I felt composed and ready out there. I just tried to be aggressive and to be on the lead every time so as not to give her any chances and I feel like my strategy worked which was really nice,” Okutoyi remarked after the game.

“I felt pretty confident and I enjoyed the match. We are ready to fight against every country and we have positive energy. All of us are feeling well so we are just waiting to see whether we can qualify to Group II,” Owegi remarked after their game.

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Elsewhere, Burundi, who came into the tournament in position 11 out of 12, stunned second-seeded Tunisia 2-1 to create some early drama in the event.

Ranim Rassil gave Tunisia the lead with a6-2, 6-1 win over Hoziane Kitambala but Sada Nahimana came back charging for Burundi as she beat Chiraz Bechri 6-2, 6-2 to ensure the game needed to be decided over the Doubles match.

Nahimana and Kitambala got the job done following a 6-2, 4-6, 10-6 win over Bechri and Lamis Haouas.

There were also wins for Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nigeria with action crossing over to Tuesday where Kenya will take on a hurting Tunisia in the highlight clash of the day.

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Tuesday Fixtures (10am)

Tunisia vs Kenya – Center Court

South Africa vs Madagascar

Zimbabwe vs Namibia

Botswana vs Uganda

Nigeria vs Ghana

Mauritius vs Burundi

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Promotion and Relegation Format

There will be a two-stage round-robin format. Three pools of four teams will compete on Monday-Wednesday.

Teams finishing in the same position in the first pool stage will compete in a second round-robin on Thursday-Saturday.

The three pool winners from the first stage will compete for one promotion place.

Teams finishing in fourth place in the first round-robin will compete to not be relegated.

One promoted; one relegated.

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