Rwanda’s title hopeful Olivier Havugimana fought hard to beat his Rwandan nemesis Etienne Niyigena in a tight match, winning 4-6 6-3 7-5 in their quarterfinal clash of Rwanda Tennis Open played on Thursday at Amahoro courts.
Havugimana who is the sole Rwandan remaining in the men’s professional singles category in the tournament will face top seed Duncan Mugabe of Uganda in the semis as he edges closer to the $1,000 winner’s purse.
Ahead of his Friday’s match against the Ugandan star, Havugimana told KT Sports on Thursday evening, “I am ready for the semi-final match. It’s going to be a difficult game but I am ready to take on Mugabe. He is a stronger player but I am ready to put in my best to ensure that I reach the final.”
“He (Mugabe) might be stronger, considered favourite but should expect a tough opposition,” added Havugimana.
Mugabe, favourite winner of the tournament edged Rwandan Mubarak Harerimana in the last eight winning easily 6-3 6-2.
A focused Mugabe said, “I am here to win the title and to do so, I have to win all my matches with the semi-final tie against Havugimana inclusive. He has not reached this stage by mistake, he is a strong player thus I am ready to take him on.”
Ugandan David Oringa advanced to the semi-finals after he beat Christian Diamba from DR Congo on a tie break 7-5 7-4 (4) to set-up a meeting against Kenyan Ismael Changawa Mzai who ended Dieudonne Habiyambere’s hopes of reaching the last four, winning 6-4 6-1.
In the women category, Rwanda’s lone hopes of winning the tournament lie on fourth seed Gisele Umumararungu who beat fellow Rwandan Jocylene Umuliza 2-6 6-2 6-3 to set up a semi-final clash against Burundian second seed Aisha Niyonkuru.
The Burundian star defeated Rwandan Marie Chantal Mutuyimana 6-1 6-2 in the quarter final round.
The second semi-final match of the day will pit Shufaa Changawa against Burundian Hosiana Kitambala. Changawa beat Rwandan Olive Tuyisenge 6-2 6-0 while Kitambala eliminated another Rwandan Megane Ingabire 6-2 6-3 respectively.
The 2017 edition of Rwanda Tennis Open, which is organised by the Rwanda Tennis Federation in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Culture, Bank of Kigali and Tigo, will see the winners take home US$1000 (men) and US$1000 (women) in prize money.
Men Pro Singles
D. Mugabe (Uga) vs O. Havugimana (Rwa)
D. Oringa (Uga) vs I. Changawa (Ken)
Women Pro Singles
G. Umumararungu (Rwa) vs A. Niyonkuru (Bur)
S. Changawa (Ken) vs H. Kitambala (Bur)