Tennis

Alex Eala, Brazilian partner fall in WTA Canberra semis; Alcantara exits

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala, Brazilian partner fall in WTA Canberra semis; Alcantara exits

ALL SET. Alex Eala gets ready to serve in the WTA Canberra.

ALEX EALA FACEBOOK PAGE

Alex Eala and Laura Pigossi, an Olympic bronze medalist in the Tokyo Games women’s doubles, fail to sustain their strong start to miss out on a title berth in the WTA Canberra

MANILA, Philippines – Filipina teen tennis star Alex Eala and Laura Pigossi of Brazil could not sustain their strong start as the pair got eliminated by hometown bets Kaylah McPhee and Astra Sharma, 7-6 (1), 6-3, in the doubles semifinals of the $164,000 WTA Workday Canberra International on Friday, January 5, at the Canberra Tennis Centre in Australia.

The 18-year-old Eala and Pigossi, an Olympic bronze medalist in the Tokyo Games women’s doubles, surged ahead at 4-2 in the opening set after breaking serve. 

But McPhee, who made the second round of the 2020 Australian Open women’s doubles, and Sharma, a finalist in the 2019 Australian Open mixed doubles, fought back to level the score at 5-5 after an exchange of service breaks before the set eventually headed to a tiebreak. 

The Australian pair then dominated the tiebreak, 7-1, to go up a set.

McPhee and Sharma carried over their scoring spree to the second frame, jumping to a 5-2 advantage and closing the match in the ninth game to clinch a spot in the finals. 

Eala will head to Melbourne next where she is set to compete in the Australian Open qualifiers, which will begin on January 8.

Meanwhile, Filipino doubles specialist Francis Casey Alcantara and Kaichi Uchida also fell prey to a pair of hometown bets, losing in two close sets to Pruchya Isarow and Maximus Jones of Thailand, 6-4, 7-6 (7), in the ATP Challenger Bangkok Open 1 in Nonthaburi.

One early break spelled the difference in the tight first set for the crowd favorites Isarow and Jones to pull ahead in the match. 

The second frame followed the same script with the Thais gaining a 4-2 lead, before Alcantara and Uchida managed to draw even and send the match to a tiebreak where they moved ahead at 6-4. 

Egged on by the local fans, Isarow and Jones rallied to tie at 6-6. Alcantara and Uchida saved a match point when they knotted the count at 7-7, but Isarow and Jones pocketed the next two points to seal the match in an hour and 25 minutes. 

Currently ranked a career-high 211 in the world, Alcantara will resume his pro campaign next week in the ATP Challenger Bangkok Open 2 where he will rekindle ties with his old partner, world No. 206 Sun Fajing of China. – Rappler.com

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