Alex Eala claims ITF Tokyo doubles semis seat, falls in singles

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala claims ITF Tokyo doubles semis seat, falls in singles

FINAL FOUR. Alex Eala and Natsumi Kawaguchi celebrate after clinching a semifinal spot in the ITF Tokyo event.


Filipina Alex Eala and Japanese partner Natsumi Kawaguchi stay in the hunt for a doubles crown in Tokyo

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala got the boot in the second round of singles competition but advanced to the semifinals of the $100,000 Ando Securities Open Tokyo 2023 at the Ariake Tennis Park in Japan.

Eala blew an early advantage and fell to fifth seed and No. 111 Kimberly Birrell of Australia, 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-2, on Wednesday, September 6.

But was Eala’s turn to come back from a set down on Thursday, September 7, in the doubles competition as she teamed up with Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan to upset third seeds Natela Dzalamidze of Georgia and Sofya Lansere of Russia in a pulsating three-setter, 4-6, 6-3, 12-10. 

The victory earned for Eala and Kawaguchi a spot in the semifinals scheduled on Friday.

In singles action, the first eight games of the opening set saw both Eala and Birrell drop all their serves to keep the score tied at 4-4. The Filipina teen finally broke through by holding serve in the ninth game to eventually win the first set at 6-4.

Eala appeared to be on her way to a straight-set victory with an early break in the second set to go up 3-1. But Birrell, who reached the third round of the 2019 Australian Open, fought back to extend the match and end it via tiebreak.

It was all Birrell in the closing set as she regained control of the match to eliminate her younger foe. –

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