Third time’s the charm: Alex Eala overcomes toughest rival

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Third time’s the charm: Alex Eala overcomes toughest rival

BATTLE. Alex Eala in action in the international tennis circuit.


Alex Eala finally conquers Anna Bondar, the 26-year-old Hungarian who dealt the Filipina teen’s worst loss in her pro tennis career

MANILA, Philippines – Payback came two years later, but Alex Eala hardly minds as she did it in a merciless, thorough beatdown. 

The 18-year-old Eala faced former world No. 50 Anna Bondar of Hungary for the third time, and the Philippine tennis phenom finally emerged victorious, pulling off a dominant 6-3, 6-1 decision in the women’s singles opening round of the ITF W50 1st Empire Women’s Indoor 2024 in Trnava, Slovakia.

Eala’s revenge win came on Wednesday, February 28, two years after Bondar dealt the Filipina the worst loss of her pro career, 6-0, 6-0, in the 2022 WTA Madrid qualifiers.

Just last week, Eala faded in the deciding set and fell to the 26-year-old Bondar, 6-4, 6-7 (3), 6-1, in the quarterfinals of the ITF W75 Porto in Portugal. 

Bondar went on to win the titles of both the singles and doubles events of the Portugal tournament. 

In their third encounter, Eala showed how much she had learned from their two previous matches. 

Eala sent a strong message from the get-go as she broke the second-seeded Bondar in the second game of the opening set to go up 2-0. 

Bondar put herself on the scoreboard at 2-1, but Eala would not allow her to get any closer and proceeded to erect a 5-2 lead.

The first set was all over after just nine games. 

If Bondar harbored hopes of winning back-to-back ITF titles, she would soon find out Eala would have none of it.  

The 2022 US Open girls singles champion from the Philippines was even more unforgiving in the second set, allowing Bondar just one scoring opportunity in the third game. 

After that, Eala pocketed the next three games to end the second set and close out the match in one hour and 26 minutes. 

Eala will have an opportunity to seek a quarterfinal spot when she goes up in the second round against 29-year-old Lina Gjorcheska of Macedonia. 

Gjorcheska prevailed over former world No. 29 Urszula Radwańska of Poland in the opening round.

Eala also has a chance to make a deep run in the doubles competition after she and Turkish partner Zeynep Sonmez defeated fourth seeds Liang En Shuo of Chinese Taipei and Tang Qianhui of China in the first round. 

They will next face Ilona Georgiana Ghioroaie of Romania and Aneta Kucmova of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. –

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