ITF Men Futures-Rwanda leg
P. Barlow (Great Britain) 6-3, 6-4 J.C Gasigwa (Rwa)
A.Filenkov (Russia) v O. Nkunda (Rwa)
A.Vejmelka (Cze) v D. Ndiaye (Sen)
L. Bogdan-Victor (Rou) v V. Rubino (Italy)
JEAN Claude Gasigwa’s ITF Men Futures came to a premature end after a shock straight sets hammering by Great Britain’s Philip Barlow at Laico Kigali Umubano last evening.
Gasigwa, who was expected to push Barlow to the wire had little to offer as Barlow, one of eight players to qualify the hard way raced to a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 25 minutes.
Gasigwa was out of sorts as he made a number of unforced errors.
The match got off to a cagey start with both men staving off break points and it looked as though the first set would go Gasigwa’s way when the crowd favourite carved out two sweet points at 3-2 on Barlow’s serve.
But the lanky Briton responded, with some fine serves and sleek backhand shots to claim the opener.
After losing the first set, he started pushing the boat out too far and Barlow raced to a 4-0 advantage before going on to save three break points en route to taking the second set 6-2.
After the game, Gasigwa admitted that he had struggled at the athletic Barlow.
“I was not at my usual best today. I struggled with my serve and gave him the upper hand,” he disappointedly said.
Rwanda’s faint hopes now lie in Olivier Nkunda who plays Russia’s Alexei Filenkov this morning.
Nkunda, ranked 1752 in the world is in for a tough test against Filenkov who boosts of an ATP ranking of 928.
The tournament’s top seeds Adam Vejmelka and Leonte Bogdan-Victor will also play their first round ties later today.
Vejmelka, the 2006 champion and winner of the Burundi leg takes on Senegal’s Daouda Ndiaye while last year’s semi-finalist Bogdan plays Rubino Vittorio of Italy.
With a hefty cash package of Rwf 5.65m courtesy of Heineken, the winner will pocket a whooping Rwf 1.07m while the first and second runners up will bag Rwf0.67m and Rwf0.45m respectively.