Contrasting fortunes for PH tennis stars in international pro tour

Ariel Ian Clarito
Contrasting fortunes for PH tennis stars in international pro tour

COMEBACK. Alex Eala will be the second highest-ranked player in the WTA pro tour who will be playing in the 2022 US Open juniors.

Alex Eala's Instagram page

Filipino tennis players Alex Eala, Francis Casey Alcantara, Eric Olivarez Jr., and Ruben Gonzales deliver varying results in their respective international tournaments

MANILA, Philippines – Four members of the Philippine national tennis team who will see action in the Southeast Asian Games this coming May in Vietnam were on the court on Tuesday, April 12, in various pro competitions played in different continents.

Fresh off winning her second career professional singles title last week, teen prodigy Alex Eala opened her second pro event in Asia by barging into the doubles quarterfinals of the ITF W25 Chiang Rai held at the Chiang Rai Sports Center in Thailand. The 16-year-old Eala partnered with 32-year-old Japanese Shiho Akita to easily defeat hometown bets Salakthip Ounmuang and Pawinee Ruamrak, 6-2, 6-1. 

Eala and Akita will next face Momoko Kubori of Japan and Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand for a berth in the doubles semifinals. Kubori and Kumkhum will be looking for some payback as they both were beaten by Eala in singles competition last week.

Eala will also be playing singles on Wednesday, April 13. She drew a tough but familiar first-round foe as she will be up against top seed Indy De Vroome of the Netherlands. Eala and De Vroome teamed up last week in the doubles competition but were beaten in the opening round. 

Over in Africa, 2019 SEA Games doubles gold medalist Francis Casey Alcantara and Colin Sinclair of the Northern Mariana Isalands made the final eight of the ITF M15 Cairo by winning over Jordan Chiu of the United States and Maximus Jones of Thailand.

Alcantara and Sinclair were in dominant form in the opening set but allowed their opponents to come back from 2-5 down to force a tiebreak. Alcantara and Sinclair eventually picked up a 6-2, 7-6 (7-3) win at the clay courts of Solaimaneyah in Cairo, Egypt. They will need to get past third seeds Kai Lemstra of Germany and Neil Oberleitner of Austria to clinch a semis spot.

Eric Olivarez Jr. missed out on the main draw in the singles competition of the same ITF M15 Cairo tournament. He won his first two matches in the qualifiers but fell to Svyatoslav Gulin of Russia in the third and final round, 1-6, 5-7.

Meanwhile, Ruben Gonzales’ European campaign was off to a rough start as he and Indonesian partner Christopher Rungkat suffered an upset in the opening round of the 45,730-euro Open Citta Della Disfida ATP Challenger event in Barletta, Italy. 

Seeded fourth in the tournament, Gonzales and Rungkat dropped a heartbreaker to the unseeded Polish pair of Karol Drzewiecki and Kacper Zuk, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 8-10.

Gonzales and Rungkat also exited in the opening round of the Sanremo Challenger event, also held in Italy, the previous week. –

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