Mon, 24 Jan 2022

NAIROBI, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's Angella Okutoyi departed on Monday to compete in the junior category of the first tennis Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, that runs from January 22 to 29 in Melbourne.

The 2021 Africa junior champion, who is ranked 60th in the world, will also play at the J1 Traralgon tournament in Australia from January 14 to 19 as she seeks to break into the global top 30.

"I have practised for two weeks after breaking for Christmas. My preparations have been good," Okutoyi told Tennis Kenya before departing for Australia, adding that she has been putting in double the effort so that her hard work bears fruit.

Okutoyi prepared for the Grand Slam tournament at the residence of retired Kenyan tennis star Phillip Illako, who was the top-seeded African in 1984 and led the country's Davis Cup team in 2017.

She is among 46 players enlisted for the main draw in the girls' category of the Australian Open, where she will be making her maiden appearance.

In November 2021, Okutoyi was ranked 142nd in the International Tennis Federation (ITF), and swept aside top seed Aya El Aouni (126) of Morocco 6-3, 6-3 to be crowned the African junior champion in the finals played in Sousse, Tunisia.

Okutoyi last won an ITF tournament during the J4 Nairobi II in January 2021 on her way to her then-career-high ranking of 127.

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