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MANILA, Philippines – For the fifth time in 2023, Alex Eala suffered a straight-sets defeat in the main draw opening round of a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) event.
And for the second time in six months, her opening round exit was inflicted by Tatjana Maria of Germany.
The 18-year-old Eala could not exact revenge on the 36-year-old Maria who went on to triumph 6-3, 6-0, in their first round matchup on Tuesday, September 19, in the Galaxy Holding Group Guangzhou Open in China.
The Filipina teen, currently ranked a career-high world No. 191, kept in step with the veteran Maria up to the sixth game of the first set which remained tied at 3-3.
Maria, who made the Wimbledon semifinals in 2022 and has played numerous times in all Grand Slam events, broke Eala for the second time in the 7th game to go up 4-3. The German would not relinquish the lead from that point on, closing out the first set after just nine games.
The second set was even quicker as the German veteran blanked Eala, 6-0. The world No. 48 tennister continuously pounced on Eala’s serve, converting 46% points off Eala’s first serve and 55% off the second.
In their previous encounter last April 28, Maria also dominated Eala, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round of the Madrid Open.
Eala went through two qualifying matches to earn a berth in the main draw of the $250,000 WTA event. She turned back En-Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei, 5-7, 6-1, 7-5, on Saturday, September 16, then repulsed Elizabeth Mandlik of the United States, 7-5, 7- 6 (7-3), on Sunday, September 17, at the Nansha International Tennis Center. – Rappler.com