Alex Eala bucks rain delay, reaches ITF Monastir quarterfinal

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala bucks rain delay, reaches ITF Monastir quarterfinal

TITLE HUNT. Alex Eala keeps her title hopes alive with another convincing triumph.

Alex Eala Instagram page

Sustaining her strong start, Alex Eala picks up where she left off after a game delay to advance to the last eight of the ITF event in Tunisia

MANILA, Philippines – Top seed Alex Eala scored her second straight-set victory in the ITF W25 Monastir after thumping Nadine Keller of Switzerland in a rain-delayed match, 6-1, 6-4, on Friday, May 26, at the Hotel Skanes Family Monastir Court 2 in Tunisia.

This was a fitting follow-up to Eala’s 6-1, 6-1 opening-round triumph on Wednesday over Anja Wildgruber of Germany.

Keller, ranked 483rd in the world, was expected to pose a stiffer challenge to Eala, who is now 262 in the world rankings.

The second-round encounter, which began on Thursday, initially followed a similar script to Eala’s opening-round win. 

Eala raced to a 3-0 advantage before Keller finally held serve in the fourth game of the first set. The Filipina teen tennis star then broke Keller anew in the sixth game to go up 5-1 before play was suspended a second time.

The delay was not enough to stymie Eala’s momentum when play resumed on Friday as she closed out the opening set on her serve, 6-1.

Keller tasted her first lead in the match at 1-0 of the second set. Eala, the 2022 US Open girls singles champion, secured the next two games to go up 3-1. 

But Keller refused to go away easily. 

The 23-year-old Swiss pulled even at 3-3 after four break points in the sixth game. After the two exchanged service breaks to tie at 4-4, Eala regained control of the match by going up 40-0 en route to breaking the serve of Keller, who appeared to be slowing down. 

Even with Eala facing two break points at 15-40 in the 10th game, she still managed to finish strong by scoring the next four points to end the set and the match, 6-4.

With the win, Eala will continue her quest for a third title in the pro circuit with a quarterfinal matchup against qualifier Jiaqi Wang of China, who upset sixth seed Viktoria Morvayova of Slovakia in three sets in the second round. –

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