Tennis

Plucky Alex Eala books first singles semis of the year

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Plucky Alex Eala books first singles semis of the year

ON A ROLL. Alex Eala races to return a shot against Anca Alexia Todoni of Romania in the W50 quarterfinal in India.

ALEX EALA FACEBOOK PAGE

In a battle between two emerging teen stars, Alex Eala shows her superiority over Anca Alexia Todoni of Romania to advance to the W50 final four in India

MANILA, Philippines – All week long, Alex Eala has been a picture of grit and endurance, allowing her to outlast opponents.

These were once again on display on Friday, February 2, in the quarterfinals of the Indore ITF World Tennis Tour W50 in India. 

In a battle between two emerging young stars, the 18-year-old Eala showed her superiority over 19-year-old Anca Alexia Todoni of Romania by winning in straight sets, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the final four at the Indore Tennis Club.

“Fought hard to reach my first semifinals of the year,” the Filipina tennis star posted in her social media account. 

Todoni was expected to be Eala’s toughest matchup yet in the tournament as the Romanian won four ITF titles in 2023, which resulted in a huge jump in her world rankings to 233 from 893 in 2022.

At least in the first set, Todoni lived up to her billing as the sixth seed in the competition.

After Eala opened the set with a service break, Todoni responded with a service break of her own and seized the advantage by going up 2-1. 

This was the pattern in the succeeding games, with the third-seeded Eala forced to play catch-up to tie the count, only for Todoni to go up anew. This remained true until the 11th game when Eala scored another service break. She followed it up by holding serve in the 12th game to pocket the first set.

The  long, drawn-out contest in the opener took its toll on Todoni in the second set. 

After she won the first game to go 1-0, Eala took over and swept the next four games. The Romanian momentarily stopped the momentum, breaking Eala in the sixth game to narrow the gap to 2-4. 

That proved to be Todoni’s last hurrah as Eala owned the next two games to end the match at 6-2 and book herself a spot in the semifinals.

Eala will be in for another tough encounter as she tangles with second seed Polina Kudermetova of Russia in the last four. 

The 20-year-old Russian owns eight ITF singles titles, and as a teenager, made the main draw of the 2023 Australian Open. She is the younger sister of former world No. 9 Veronika Kudermetova.

The other semifinal pairing features 22-year-old fourth seed Carole Monnet of France against 32-year-old veteran fifth seed Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia. – Rappler.com

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