Tennis: Alex Eala loses to Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria in Thailand Open

Rosy Mina

Posted at Jan 31 2023 06:00 PM

Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open in Hua Hin. Photo courtesy of 2023 Thailand Open.
Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open in Hua Hin. Photo courtesy of 2023 Thailand Open.

HUA HIN, Thailand – Filipino qualifier Alexandra “Alex” Eala failed to cause an upset against sixth seed and 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round of the WTA Thailand Open here.

The 17-year-old Eala, currently ranked 217th in the world, was overpowered by the 63rd ranked Maria, 2-6, 2-6, at Court 1 of the True Arena Hua Hin Sports Club on Tuesday.

“One of my biggest goals for this year is integrating myself into the WTA. So, I’m going to try to get my ranking up and then join more of these tournaments on the circuit,” Eala told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview.

The 35-year-old Maria, who won last week’s W40 Pune championship in India to improve her title count to two WTA and 17 ITF women’s singles crowns, kicked things off with a service break.

Eala, the 2022 US Open Juniors singles champion with two ITF women’s singles titles, responded with her only break of serve in the set.

Maria pulled away at 4-2 with an ace, and served out the first set, 6-2, after saving two break points.

An exchange of breaks began the second set, as Eala tried to dig deep to counter Maria's slices.

Eala, a former ITF juniors world No. 2 with a WTA career-high ranking of No. 214, fought off two break points in the third game until her long forehand allowed the German veteran to break serve.

Maria, who reached a career-best WTA ranking of No. 46 in 2017, extended her lead to 5-1 by overcoming two deuces and forcing a forehand service return error.

Serving to stay in the match, Eala held at 40-30, then took the first two points of the eighth game where Maria was serving for the match. 

The German fired two aces to gain a match point, and she clinched the win after Eala's backhand service return was called out.

In the second round, Maria will face either 103rd ranked and 2019 Thailand Open champion Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine or 116th ranked Moyuka Uchijima of Japan.

Over the weekend, Eala entered a WTA main draw through qualifying for the first time by eliminating World No. 898 Xinyun Han of China, 6-1, 7-6(6), and World No. 234 Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus, 6-2, 7-5. 

The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar from the Philippines was seeded fourth in the qualifying draw of the Thailand Open, which is a WTA 250 event.


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