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Kenya’s Angella Okutoyi Wins Her Biggest Singles Title At The W25 Tournament In Nairobi

Clay-court tennis

Angella Okutoyi enjoyed a dream week in her home country, winning her biggest singles title on the pro tour at the $25,000 ITF tournament in Nairobi.

Okutoyi Triumphs in Nairobi

The 19-year-old Kenyan defeated former World No. 250 Lena Papadakis 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 to complete a clean sweep of hardware this weekend. Okutoyi, who won the doubles draw on Friday with her good friend Sada Nahimana of Burundi, outplayed Papadakis in Saturday’s final at the Nairobi Club.

It is the perfect Christmas present for Okutoyi, despite her inability to break into the main tour. In the summer of 2022, she became an overnight sensation back home after becoming Kenya’s first-ever Grand Slam champion. Okutoyi won the Wimbledon junior’s title while partnering with Rose Marie Nijkamp.

This low-key ITF tournament was attended by hundreds of exuberant locals who cheered her on every step of the way. After a nervy start to the match (in which she was broken in the fifth game), Okutoyi found her footing with her trademark serve and cracking forehand.

Papadakis, whose ranking has plummeted to a low of World No. 577, was no pushover and had previously taken a set from Top 20 player Liudmila Samsonova in Bad Homburg during a rare WTA main draw appearance last season. At 25, she is vastly more experienced than Okutoyi but had faced a more taxing route to the final.

Okutoyi broke back immediately and took advantage of that momentum to wrap up the set by winning three straight games. Papadakis was not getting any love from the crowd, which was understandable playing against a home favorite. Yet her resilience was creditable, and she managed to level the match by winning the second set 6-1.

Okutoyi dominates the final set

Okutoyi managed to regroup in the decider. After taking a toilet break before the start of the third set, she began to hit with more accuracy. Okutoyi showed nifty footwork to run around a loose ball and finish the point with a devastating forehand winner to break Papadakis’ serve in the decider.

The German capitulated considerably in the third set and was broken twice in a trice. Okutoyi duly delivered when she served for the match to send the few hundred home fans into delirium. This is the 19-year-old’s second ITF senior title, having won the W15 in Monastir, Tunisia, at the end of July. She is also projected to rise over 50 spots into the Top 900 again.

Main Photo Credit: Matthias Hauer – GEPA via USA TODAY Sports


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