Okutoyi makes history after progressing to first-ever W25 career final

22nd December 2023

The tennis ace became the first Kenyan to make it to a W25 final.

Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| SportPesa
Angella Okutoyi. PHOTO| SportPesa
SUMMARY
  • Okutoyi beat France's Lucie Nguyen Tan to advance to her first-ever W25 final.
  • She recorded a straight set 6-4, 6-4 victory.
  • She will face Germany’s Lena Papadakis in the Singles final on Saturday.

19-year-old tennis ace Angella Okutoyi etched her name into the history book as she became the first-ever Kenyan to make it to the finals of a W25 tournament after beating France’s Lucie Nguyen Tan in a straight set 6-4, 6-4 victory to book her place in the championship decider of the second W25 International Tennis Federation tournament ongoing at the Nairobi Club.

Having been knocked out in the second round of the inaugural W25 tourney played at the Karen Country Club from 11-17 December 2023, Okutoyi bounced back in perfect style as she overcame every obstacle on her way to achieving the historic feat that was made even sweeter by the fact that it was on home soil.

“I am feeling so happy because I have worked so hard for this and I am happy that it is paying off,” an emotional Okutoyi told SportPesa News after her semifinal victory.

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“I believed in myself, knew that I am also strong and that I belong in this game. I knew she was a competitor so I just came out taking it one point at a time.

Last week, I was not really comfortable with the surface because I was still in the hard court state but I practiced a lot and I put in the work to come back this week and play my tennis and I feel like I fought till the end,” Okutoyi added.

The match started with Okutoyi signaling her intent as she broke immediately in the opening game before holding her serve for a 2-0 lead.

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Tan trailed in the match but she was able to get her break back in the seventh game when she took the only break point to restore parity at 4-4 after holding serve afterwards.

Okutoyi however managed to fight back as she broke for a second time to lead 5-4 with a chance for serving for the set.

That last game proved to be an epic encounter as Okutoyi was forced to dig deep in saving three break points on her way to taking the first set 6-4.

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Okutoyi struck early once again as she broke in the third game in the second set but similar to the first set, Tan got her break back before Okutoyi broke again for a 5-4 lead.

This time Okutoyi saved one break point before wrapping the 6-4, 6-4 victory as young girls swarmed her on the pitch while she burst into tears of joy.

“When I was young, I did not have anybody to look up to from Kenya, so I am just trying to be myself and showing young kids that anything is possible,” she remarked afterwards.

Okutoyi will face Lena Papadakis in the Singles final on Saturday after the German beat Sweden's Fanny Ostlund 7-6(4), 6-4.

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Should Okutoyi win the singles finals, she is expected to be rewarded handsomely. The tournament has a mouthwatering prize money of $25,000 (approximately Ksh 3.8 million).

The crucial victory comes at a time when the talented player has already booked a place in the doubles finals.

Okutoyi and her partner Sada Nahimana of Burundi made it to the doubles finals on Thursday after overcoming Russia’s Ksenia Laskutova and Colombia’s Maria Gonzalez 6-2, 3-6, 11-9 in a tie breaker.

The duo are expected to square it out for the trophy against German international Papadakis and her American partner Jessie Aney.