Alex Eala misses out on WTA Rothesay Open main draw

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala misses out on WTA Rothesay Open main draw

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


Aside from falling short of the main draw of the WTA Rothesay Open, Alex Eala misses out on the chance to go up against 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the opening round

MANILA, Philippines – In her last two WTA tournaments, Alex Eala got the boot in three sets despite winning the opening set of the last qualifying match.

The nightmare would not go away and recurred a third time in Nottingham. 

The 19-year-old Eala crashed out of the WTA Rothesay Open on Sunday, June 9, falling in three sets to doubles specialist Ena Shibahara of Japan , 6-7(5), 6-0, 6-2, in the last qualifying match at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in Great Britain. 

The American-born Shibahara has made her mark more in doubles than in singles, even winning in the 2022 French Open as one-half of the champion mixed doubles pair. 

The 26-year-old Shibahara also made the women’s doubles final of the 2023 Australian Open. But against Eala, the Japanese was prepared to go toe-to-toe for a precious spot in the main draw of the WTA 250 event. 

With the loss, Eala not only fell short of making it to the main tournament, but she also missed out on the opportunity to go up against 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu in the opening round. 

The last set had a fading Eala keeping pace only until the fourth game when the score remained tied at 2-2. 

It was all Shibahara from that juncture as the Japanese swept the next four games to win the match after an hour and 58 minutes. 

The opener was a tightly contested set that had Eala and Shibahara break each other’s serves three times. The first set necessitated a tiebreak where Shibahara led all the way until 4-3.

Eala shifted to a higher gear and scored three straight points to get to set point before eventually winning, 7-5. 

The first-set triumph appeared to have zapped the wind out of Eala, with Shibahara hardly encountering any resistance from her Filipina foe in the second set for a 6-0 shutout to extend the match to a decider. 

It was another painful loss for Eala, similar to her last two previous defeats. 

In the last French Open qualifiers, she succumbed to Julia Riera of Argentina, 4-6, 7-6(3), 6-4, on May 23. 

Two weeks later, she again blew a one-set advantage in the WTA 124 Makarska in Croatia and was shown the exit in the last round of qualification by Russia’s Maria Timofeeva, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2. –

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