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Angella Okutoyi made a dream start to her Grand Slam juniors career, and in the process she added Kenya to the tennis history books. The 17-year-old became the first girl from her country to win a Grand Slam juniors match, but her trailblazing run didn’t stop there.

Okutoyi, the African U-18 and U-14 champion, made her mark in Melbourne and went on to reach the third round after defeating Federica Urgesi of Italy and Australia’s Zara Larke. She is the second Kenyan to play in the Australian Open after Paul Wekesa, according to Kenyan newspaper, The Standard, and the first Kenyan to reach the third round of a Grand Slam in any singles event.

“To make history here in Melbourne has been very special,” Okutoyi told “I am happy that people in Kenya have been able to see that and they, together with African players more generally, realize they have a chance to do the same.

“In Kenya, most people who play tennis are not well-off. Their families, like mine, don’t have much and I just want to encourage them and say that situation doesn’t mean they cannot reach here, and it doesn’t define them.

“It can actually give them a drive and a motivation to do good.”

Her achievements didn’t go unnoticed back home or on social media, where her name was trending throughout Africa. She even got a shoutout from another Kenyan trailblazer, Lupita Nyong’o, the first Kenyan and Mexican actress to win an Oscar:


Okutoyi, who is a part of the ITF’s Grand Slam Development Fund, is currently the No. 71-ranked junior in the world. She was one of two girls who made history during the Australian Open, with Iran’s Meshkat al-Zahra Safi also becoming the first girl from her country to win a Grand Slam juniors match.