Alex Eala reaches semis of Thailand ITF event

Ariel Ian Clarito
Alex Eala reaches semis of Thailand ITF event

ON A ROLL. Alex Eala looks to sustain her winning run.


Seeing action again in Asia after four years, Alex Eala has been in sharp form in her first three singles matches

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala’s return to the Asian tennis scene has so far gone well as she defeated Momoko Kobori of Japan in the quarterfinals of the ITF W25 Chiang Rai on Friday, April 8 at the Chiang Rai Sports Center in Thailand. 

The 16-year-old Eala, ranked 533rd in the world singles rankings, prevailed in straight sets over the 23-year-old Japanese, 6-3, 6-3. 

Seeing action again in Asia after four years and in her first pro event in the continent, Eala has been in sharp form in her three singles matches thus far in this $25,000 event in Chiang Rai, a city in the northern part of Thailand.

Against Kobori, Eala broke serve twice in the opening set in a display of dominance against her older rival. 

Eala sustained her momentum in the second set as she immediately broke Kobori’s serve in the opening game. 

Although Kobori had her moments in the second set as she too broke serve twice, Eala would not allow her to get back in the match as the Filipina teen prodigy broke serve three more times to close out their quarters encounter.

Eala got off to a slow start in the tournament as she labored to get past Katarina Kozarov of Serbia in the opening round, 4-6, 6-4, 6-1. In the second round, Eala made short work of local bet Patcharin Cheapchandej of Thailand, 6-3, 6-4.

The victory over Kobori, who upset fellow Japanese and fourth seed Chihiro Maramatsu in the second round, propelled Eala to her first semifinal appearance this year in the pro circuit. She will be facing Yexin Ma of China on Saturday for a chance to book a berth in Sunday’s finals.

Eala has already committed to joining the Philippine tennis team that will see action in the Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam this May. Her campaign in the ITF events in Thailand forms part of her preparation for the SEA Games.

Meanwhile, Philippine team mainstay Francis Casey Alcantara and Japanese partner Shuichi Sekiguchi fell to second seeds Francesco Villardo and Samuel Vincent Ruggeri of Italy, 6-2, 6-3, on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the ITF M15 Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. 

Alcantara, who is also gearing up for the SEA Games, has been in Egypt since early March where he has already seen action in two ITF doubles events. –