J.C Gasigwa v N. Trkulja (Aus)
With Rwanda’s top seed, Eric Hagenimana away in the Unite States of America furthering his career, the nation’s hopes of securing its first ITF Men’s Futures circuit title will be shouldered by second seed Jean Claude Gasigwa when he faces world ranked Aussie Nick Trkulja (1266) today (10am) at Novotel Hotel courts.
Gasigwa, who entered as a wildcard will be hoping for the better this time around after three successive first round exits in the circuit.
The country’s top seed in the competition has never gone past the first round in his four years on the tour. Last week, he fell to Lithuania’s Gvidas Sabeckis (6-1, 6-0) in the Burundi leg.
Gasigwa was joined in the main event by two other Rwandans Janvier Mugwaneza and Olivier Nkunda.
Mugwaneza qualified for the main draw after beating compatriot Fils Ntakirutimana in straight sets (6-2, 6-2) in Sunday’s qualifiers.
Nkunda secured a wild card thanks to ITF’s rule that gives two wild cards to the hosting country.
If Rwanda is to get something out of the event it’s hosting for the eighth year in row, its representatives have to over come the hurdles that lay ahead, one of them being Romania’s Bogdan-Victor Leonte.
The tournament’s top seed is desperate to make amends in the second leg (Kigali) after a jaded display in Burundi.
The 22-year-old who boasts of an ATP ranking of 509 was knocked out of the tournament after losing in straight sets (6-1, 6-4) to Belgium’s Marco Dierckx. Things did not get any better for the Romanian as he hit the exit in the doubles category a day after.
Bogdan who teamed up with Gvidas Sabeckis lost in straight sets (6-1, 6-3) to André Begemann (Germany) and Alexei Filenkov (Russia). However, the top seed recently said that he is over the Burundi leg and very much focused on the Kigali leg.
“Of course when you are top seed, there is that pressure that comes with it but I don’t think that’s the reason why I played poorly in Burundi,” he said.
“I’m just recovering from a foot injury I suffered a few weeks ago so I hadn’t played much tennis before the Burundi tournament. But I’m feeling much better now and I should have a better tournament here (Kigali),” he reckoned.
The Romanian who has played over twenty tournaments this year also confessed that 2008 has been a mixed season for him.