MANILA—Filipino tennis star Alex Eala made a statement in her professional doubles debut in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour, teaming up with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva at the $25,000 Platja D’Aro tournament in Spain.
On Tuesday, they easily won their doubles opener in 54 minutes over Spanish Valeria Koussenkova and South African Warona Mdlulwa, 6-2, 6-0, at the Club Tennis D’Aro.
The Filipino and Russian broke serve in the opening game and extended their lead to 4-1 before their foes broke back to inch closer on the scoreboard. However, Eala and Selekhmeteva replied with a break, enabling them to serve for the set. They won the first set, 6-2, in 29 minutes.
Eala and Selekhmeteva continued to dominate the match, eking out a 5-0 lead in the second set. Serving for the match, the Filipino and Russian breezed through the game to lead at 40-0. They claimed victory on their first match point, 6-0.
Eala, 15, and Selekhmeteva, 18, will be up for a challenge in the next round, already the quarterfinals since the opening round was the Round 16. They will face the top-seeded pair of Russians Vlada Koval and Sofya Lansere.
Despite being an unseeded pair, Eala and Selekhmeteva have notable junior grand slam doubles experience. Eala is the 2020 Australian Open junior girls’ doubles champion with Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia while Selekhmeteva is the 2019 US Open girls’ doubles champion with Kamilla Bartone of Latvia.
Meanwhile, World No. 659 Eala will also see action in the singles main draw as a junior exempt player. She will face qualifier Alba Carrillo Marin of Spain, the World No. 550, in the first round on Wednesday.
Eala has a 2-0 advantage over the 25-year-old Spaniard, whom she defeated at the W15 Castellon in November 2020 and W15 Manacor second leg in January. Eala has one professional singles title, which she won in the W15 Manacor first leg this year, while Carrillo Marin has three singles titles.
Prior to the W25 Platja D’Aro, Eala made her debut at a $60,000 ITF tournament in Bellinzona, Switzerland where she had a 3rd round finish in April. The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar is also gearing up for the Roland Garros Junior Championships, where she was a girls’ singles semifinalist in 2020.
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