Gritty Alex Eala rallies to reach ITF W60 Nantes quarters

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Gritty Alex Eala rallies to reach ITF W60 Nantes quarters

CLUTCH. Alex Eala celebrates after a point in a comeback win in the Engie Open Nantes Atlantique.

Engie Open Nantes Atlantique 

Filipina teen tennis ace Alex Eala falls early twice, but in both occasions, proves tenacious enough to recover and book a last eight spot

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala came back from 1-4 deficits twice to triumph over sixth seed Zeynep Sonmez of Turkey, 7-6(5), 6-4, to advance to the quarterfinal round of the ITF W60 Engie Open Nantes Atantique in France on Wednesday, November 1 (Thursday, November 2, Manila time).

The world No. 194 Eala found herself in dire straights early as Sonmez, ranked higher at 163, broke the recent Asian Games double bronze medalist twice in the first five games of the opening set. 

Eala found her groove beginning the sixth game and won the next four games to go up 5-4, only for the 21-year-old Sonmez to break the Filipina teen tennis ace anew in the 10th game to even the count, until the set had to be decided by a tiebreak.

There, Eala made sure to stamp her class as she surged ahead at 4-2 and maintained the gap until she closed out the opening set. 

Sonmez once again got off to a strong start in the second set, erecting a 4-1 lead to threaten to extend the match to a decider. But that would be the closest she would get to leveling the match at a set apiece. 

Eala raised her play a notch and won the next five games to seal the match after one hour and 32 minutes of play.

In Friday’s quarterfinals, Eala will be in for a tough challenge as 28-year-old third seed Leolia Jeanjean of France awaits. 

Ranked 102 in the world earlier this year, Jeanjean reached the third round of the French Open in 2022. –

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