Tennis

Alex Eala settles for runner-up in Luxembourg tourney as comeback falls short

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala settles for runner-up in Luxembourg tourney as comeback falls short

RUNNER-UP. Alex Eala in the 2023 Kyotec Open in Luxembourg.

Alex Eala Facebook page

Alex Eala caps off her season with a runner-up finish in the ITF W40 Kyotec Open in Luxembourg as she falls to France's Oceane Dodin

MANILA, Philippines – Not the ending to the season she would have wanted, but still a pretty good way to cap off a fruitful year for the Philippines’ brightest tennis star.

Alex Eala found her groove a little late and fell short in her comeback bid as she suffered a 6-2, 7-5 defeat to third seed Oceane Dodin of France in the final of the ITF W40 Kyotec Open at the Tennis Club Petange in Luxembourg on Sunday, November 19.

The power-hitting Dodin, 27, broke Eala in the very first game to set the tone in a dominant opening set then proceeded to break the Filipina twice more.

Formerly ranked 45th in the world who has made the main draw multiple times of all grand slam events, Dodin appeared well on her way to another easy win in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead.

But Eala showed she still had some fight left in her, staging a furious rally that not only got her back into the match but also overtake Dodin.

The 18-year-old Eala broke Dodin in the fifth and seventh games while holding serve thrice to take the lead at 5-3. But just when the Filipina teen seemed ready to extend the match to a deciding third set, Dodin found an extra gear and came roaring back to tie the count at 5-5.

The momentum by then shifted anew to Dodin, who went on to win the next two games to finish the match in 1 hour and 23 minutes.

Dodin won all her five matches in the $40,000 ITF event without dropping a single set. This is her second straight title in the ITF tour after winning the ITF Nantes in France two weeks ago.

Eala was seeking her first-ever W40 level event championship. She has won one ITF W15 trophy and three ITF W25 titles in her young pro career.

With this runner-up finish, Eala boosted her world ranking from 204th to 190th in the world. – Rappler.com

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