MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala suffered a double whammy on Wednesday, February 2, as she dropped both her matches in singles and doubles in the Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour, a $25,000 ITF event in Manacor, Spain.
The 16-year-old Filipina prodigy, currently 574th in the world pro rankings of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), drew third-seeded Italian Giulia Gatto-Monticone for her first round foe. The 34-year-old Gatto-Monticone imposed her will on Eala and cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Eala came back later in the day to team up with 18-year-old Elsa Jacquemot of France for doubles action.
Eala and Jacquemot, the former No. 1 junior player in the world, won their opening round match by walk-over and faced third-seeded Olga Parres Azcoitia of Spain and Aurora Zantedeschi of Italy for a spot in the semifinals.
The teen tandem, though, fell to the Azcoitia-Zantedeschi pair, 2-6, 6-4, 10-3, even as Eala and Jacquemot jumped the gun on their older opponents by breaking serve twice to close out the first set in dominant fashion.
The veteran Spanish and Italian duo regained control of the match and raced to a 5-1 lead in the second set, only to see Eala and Jacquemot stage a rally and trim the deficit to just a game, 4-5. The third seeds managed to close out in the 10th game to tie the match at one set apiece, 6-4, and sustained their momentum in the third set super tiebreak where they pulled away for 10-3 victory.
Eala has not had the most ideal starts to her pro season thus far. She missed the main draw of an ITF event also in Manacor two weeks ago when she fell in the qualifying rounds. She will get another chance next week when she joins the qualifiers of the 2022 Engie Open de l’Isère, $60,000 ITF event in Grenoble, France. – Rappler.com