After Nkunda’s first round exit
ITF Men Futures-Rwanda leg
A.Filenkov (Rus) 6-4 6-4 O. Nkunda (Rwa)
A.Vejmelka (Cze) 6-4 8-6 D. Ndiaye (Sen)
L. Bogdan-Victor (Rou) 7-5 6-4 V. Rubino (Italy)
Today (Second round)
A.Vejmelka (Cze) v P. Barlow (GB)
L. Bogdan-Victor (Rou) v A. Filenkov (Rus)
THIS year’s ITF Men Futures could go down as Rwanda’s worst outing. Since 2001 when the first edition was hosted, it is the first time Rwanda has failed to post a player in the second round of the lucrative tournament.
Rwanda’s second seed Olivier Nkunda yesterday perished at the hands of Alexei Filenkov 6-4, 6-4 to end the country’s campaign in the singles’ category.
Nkunda with an ATP ranking of 1752 found it hard to match his Russian opponent (928), one of six players ranked inside the top 1000 at the week-long event.
On Monday, the country’s top seed Jean Claude Gasigwa succumbed to a premature exit from the Rwf5.65m event after going down 3-6, 4-6 against Great Britain’s Philip Barlow.
The pair now fears that the jinx will continue if things don’t change. Gasigwa, who was in top form early this year, insists that it’s always going to be hard for local players to perform in the ITF Futures unless they start playing more tournaments.
“In such tournaments, experience counts alot. Most of these guys came to Rwanda on the back of 40 or more tournaments this year which gives them an upper hand against us (with just four or five tournaments).”
“In fact, when I analyse our scores, I think we have the potential to seriously challenge them if we get sponsors to help us play more tournaments,” the 26-year-old noted.
From Kigali, the players head to Uganda, Kenya before proceeding to West Africa (Nigeria and Senegal) but Gasigwa fears that the Uganda leg could be his last tournament in the circuit.
“From here, we shall head to Uganda but that will be it because we won’t have the resources to proceed to Kenya,” he regretfully said.
Meanwhile, the tournament top seeds Adam Vejmelka (Czech Republic) and Leonte Bodgan-Victor (Romania) underlined their intentions with straight set wins over Senegal’s Daouda Ndiaye and Vittorio Rubino of Italy.
Vejmelka, the 2006 champion and winner of the Burundi leg edged Ndiaye 6-4, 8-6 while Bogdan-Victor downed Rubino 7-5, 6-4.
Heineken are the official sponsors.