Resilient Alex Eala opens ITF Portugal bid in style

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Resilient Alex Eala opens ITF Portugal bid in style

GRITTY. Filipina tennis standout Alex Eala returns a shot in pro circuit action.


Alex Eala turns a tight singles contest into a lopsided affair, then returns to the Portugal court hours later, winning doubles action in three pulsating sets

MANILA, Philippines – At 18 years old, Alex Eala is slowly learning what it takes to make an impact in the pro circuit.

One of these lessons is the importance of staying the course and showing resilience especially when the going gets tough.

On Wednesday, February 21, the Filipina teen star found herself trailing early but eventually managed to find her rhythm to earn a 6-4, 6-2 victory over 26-year-old veteran Raluca Georgiana Serban of Cyprus in the opening round of the ITF W75 Porto in Portugal.

Eala faced a 1-3 deficit in the opening set, dropping her serve twice which was aggravated by four double faults. She did not commit any more double fault thereafter. She also did not drop her serve the rest of the way.

The world No. 188 Eala worked her way through her early struggles by breaking Serban in the fifth game before holding serve for the first time in the sixth game to knot the count at 3-3. Eala extricated herself from a 4-4 deadlock with another service break to pocket the first set in the 10th game, 6-4.

What initially was a tight contest regressed into a lopsided affair in the second set. Eala broke serve twice and thoroughly dominated Serban who could not put up the same fight that has gained her 13 singles titles in the ITF circuit. 

It was all over after the eighth game with Eala ending the match in an hour and 39 minutes at the Complexo de Ténis de Monte Aventino in Porto. 

Now gunning for her fifth ITF championship, Eala will next face eighth seed Katarina Zavatska of Ukraine in the second round. 

Zavatska, once ranked as high as 103rd in the world ranking, has already played in the main draw of the French Open and the US Open.

Just hours after her singles triumph, Eala went back to court to team up with Ali Collins of Great Britain for the doubles competition.  

The pair advanced to the quarterfinals after they downed Vasanti Shinde of India and Anca Alexia Todoni of Romania in three pulsating sets, 7-6 (3), 4-6, 11-9.

The Filipina and Brit duo will seek a spot in the semis when they face second seeds Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany and Alicia Barnett of Great Britain, who won their opening match via walkover. –

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