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MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala could not convert on the chances at her feet, falling in straight sets to former world No. 43 Rebecca Peterson of Sweden, 2-6, 5-7, in the opening round of the Australian Open qualifiers at Melbourne Park early Tuesday morning, January 9.
The world No. 187 Eala had a better showing in the second set than the first, holding serve five times to keep the score tied until the tenth game at 5-5. Peterson then made her move in the 11th game when she broke Eala as the Swede seized the lead and eventually sealed the match by holding serve after.
Both Eala and Peterson had five break point opportunities, but Eala was unable to convert her chances while Peterson broke serve three times. The Filipina teen star also was not helped by the 38 errors she committed.
This is the second straight year that Eala was shown the boot in the opening round of the Australian Open qualifiers. The previous year, she squandered a one-set advantage and fell to former world No. 30 Misaki Doi of Japan, 6-4, 6-7 (1-7), 3-6.
The 18-year-old trailed early in the match, dropping her serve in the very first game of the first set which allowed Peterson to go up 2-0.
Peterson, 28, who has made the third round of the US Open and the second round of the three other Grand Slam tournaments multiple times, showed her poise and veteran savvy by holding off every attempt by Eala to narrow the gap.
The closest Eala would get was 2-3, but she failed to close out two break points and dropped her serve one more time, allowing Peterson to bag the first set after just eight games.
Eala is coming off a campaign in the $164,000 WTA Workday Canberra International also in Australia where she made the semifinals of the doubles event with Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Laura Pigossi of Brazil but was eliminated in the opening round of the singles qualifiers. – Rappler.com