Cooper courts fame at Kenya Open

Published on 02/03/2009

By Oscar Pilipili

It was another successful day for Kenya after fifth seed Allan Cooper won the men’s singles trophy at the KCB Kenya Open.

The 31-year-old Cooper powered his way to fame after he upset Zimbabwean third seed Martin Dzuwa 6-3, 7-6(8) in a thrilling final at the Nairobi Club.

It was Cooper’s second Kenya Open victory after the 1998 triumph at the same venue. The success came a day after Kenyan top seed Caroline Oduor beat Burundian second seed Asiza Butoyi 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 in the ladies singles final to record her first Kenya Open title.

Playing under the clear sky and before an ecstatic crowd estimated at 500, Cooper and Dzuwa displayed high profile game that could have won a place in any international rating.

Drop shots

Allan Cooper. Photo: Martin Mukangu

The match was spiced up with class drop shots, topspins, accurate slices and long rallies rarely seen on Kenyan courts. Both players often made net attacks, but their attacks were mainly executed from the baseline.

Dzuwa had a lot of praise for Cooper and he acknowledged that the Kenyan deserved to win.

“He played very well today and I should blame myself for the defeat because I made mistakes on big points,” said Dzuwa.

“I was leading 4-1 in the second set and he came back to the game, then I was up 5-1 in the tie-breaker but he pushed his way to victory,” said Dzuwa. Cooper had cruised to 2-0 lead in the opening set but Dzuwa caught up with him at 2-2 before the players again tied at 3-3.

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