Alex Eala exits after Errani old-school vendetta in Veneto Open quarters

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala exits after Errani old-school vendetta in Veneto Open quarters

GRITTY. Alex Eala returns a shot in the WTA 125 Veneto Open in Italy.


Filipina teen Alex Eala misses her bid to clinch a breakthrough WTA semifinal spot, finding out quickly that former world No. 5 Sara Errani had brutal revenge in mind

MANILA, Philippines – Payback is a dish best served on grass.

This Alex Eala learned the hard way as she got served a cold plate of Italian revenge.

The 19-year-old Eala fell to 37-year-old former French Open finalist Sara Errani, 6-0, 7-6(3), in the quarterfinal of the WTA Challenger Veneto Open in Gaiba, Italy on Friday, June 21 (Saturday, June 22, Philippine time). 

Something had to give when the Filipina teen faced for the second time the Italian veteran, who was once ranked No. 5 in the world. 

Eala had already shocked Errani last March 18 in the second round of the Miami Open qualifiers, dishing out a dominant 6-3, 6-1 triumph. 

But the Filipina tennis star immediately discovered Errani was out for some old-school vendetta when the Italian blanked Eala, 6-0, right in the opening set.

The second set appeared on course for another abbreviated end when Errani opened at 3-1. 

Eala, though, was not just about to cave in easily, pocketing the next three games to go up 4-3. 

Errani then strung together two straight games to retake the lead, but Eala went on a run of her own to once again grab the lead at 6-5.

The 5-foot-8 Eala had the golden opportunity to extend the match to a deciding third set when she held set point at 40-30, but the seasoned Errani maintained her poise to send the second set to a tiebreak. 

From there, the Italian seized control and led all throughout the tiebreak to eventually finish the match in one hour and 45 minutes.

It was another sorry loss for Eala, who was aiming for her first semifinal appearance in a WTA event.

She will have a few days to regroup before plunging back to action when she joins the Wimbledon qualifiers next week.

For the past days, Eala and Errani showed excellent form, with both winning their first two matches in straight sets. 

The Filipina teen prevailed over Carole Monet of France in the first round, 6-3, 7-5, then defeated Italian youngster Giorgia Pedone, 6-3, 6-3 in the second round

Errani opened her campaign in the tournament with a 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Natalija Stevanovic of Serbia, then followed it up with a round of 16 victory against Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine, 7-6(4), 7-5.

The veteran Errani, also a former US Open semifinalist and Australian Open quarterfinalist, may have slipped in the singles ladder – now standing at No. 91 – but she remains a force to be reckoned with as proven by her top 100 world ranking. 

This year, she has notched victories over world No. 56 Tatjana Maria of Germany; 107th-ranked Julia Riera of Argentina, who defeated Eala in the last qualifying round of the French Open; world No. 57 Sara Sorribes Tormo of Spain; and world No. 24 Anna Kalinskaya of Russia. – 

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