Chirewa Advances to Doubles Final in Nairobi

It must seem to be a heavy dose of déjà vu for Rufaro Chirewa. Tomorrow she is poised to make it two for two. For the second time in two weeks of consecutive ITF play, Chirewa has paired with international players to form a formidable doubles team. Today she and partner Karolina Siwanowicz of Poland, who is the top ranked player in the tournament with an ITF rating of 418 won the semi-final match against Diae El Jardi of Morocco and Sada Nahimana of Burundi 6-4, 7-6(7) on the clay courts of Nairobi .

Tomorrow, Chirewa and Siwanowicz will face the tournament’s second ranked Lexie Stevens of Netherlands, who boasts an ITF ranking of 436 and partner Vicky Geurinckx of Belgium ranked 491 in what will be a difficult challenge. Ironically, this is the same doubles pair that Chirewa and Kenyan partner Stephanie Mbaya defeated to win the gold last week in the ITF East African 18 and Under Circuit Championship.

Rufaro Chirewa and Stephanie Mbaya
Rufaro Chirewa(left) poses for a photo with her Kenyan partner after winning doubles gold last week

The three players sharing the court with Chirewa tomorrow all enter the tournament with ITF world rankings in the 400s compared with her #895. The former Chisipite student, who in recent year has turned to homeschooling to concentrate on her tennis, is sure to climb the ITF scale after these two weeks of successful international tournament play.

The final match kicks off mid morning after the singles quarter finals on the Centre Court at the Nairobi Club. Both Siwanowicz and Stevens are also playing in the quarter finals singles matches which precede the double final mid-morning tomorrow. Whether or not Chirewa brings home another gold, she will definitely have earned a tremendous boost in her young but blossoming tennis career.