French Open

Alex Eala, Selekhmeteva oust defending champs to reach French Open girls doubles finals

Beatrice Go
Alex Eala, Selekhmeteva oust defending champs to reach French Open girls doubles finals

WINNING WAYS. Alex Eala and Oksana Selekhmeteva celebrate as they continue to prove why they are the team to beat.

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Alex Eala moves within a win of another Grand Slam juniors title after a doubles semifinal victory with Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva

Alex Eala and Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva continue their dream run in the 2021 French Open girls doubles tournament as they nailed a finals berth on Friday, June 11 (Saturday, June 12, Manila time) in Paris, France.

The top-seeded duo staged an upset over the Italian defending champion pair of Lisa Pigato and Eleonora Alvisi, 6-2, 6-1, in the semifinals.

With both players motivated to give it all, the mixed-nationality pair broke serve early to go up 3-2 and scored three straight games to gain the opening set advantage.

Eala and Selekhmeteva quickly disposed of their opponents in the second set to set up a final showdown against the No. 8 seed pair of Russian Maria Bondarenko and Hungarian Amarissa Kiara Toth on Saturday.

The 16-year-old Filipino tennis ace also gained a redemption of sorts as the No. 5 seeded Italians booted the Filipina and her American partner Elvina Kalieva in the first round of the 2020 edition.

With the win, Eala gained a shot at a title after suffering a shock opening-round exit in the singles event, where she was seeded No. 2.

Selekhmeteva, on the other hand, just bowed out of the singles competition as she ended her campaign with a loss to compatriot Erika Andreeva in the semifinals.

Eala is poised to win her second Grand Slam title after her breakthrough win in the 2020 Australian Open girls doubles tournament with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho.

In the 2020 Roland Garros tournament, Eala became the first Filipino in 35 years since Felix Barrientos to nail a junior Grand Slam singles semifinal appearance. – Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.