Alex Eala and Treat Huey of the Philippines secured a bronze medal after losing to Thailand in the mixed doubles semifinals of the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Thursday in Vietnam.
No. 2 seeds Eala and Huey were edged out by third-seeded Thais Pruchya Isaro and Patcharin Cheapchandej, 6-3, 3-6, 4-10, at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Centre Court in Tu Son, Bac Ninh.
This is the second bronze medal of Eala and Huey at the Hanoi SEA Games, following their semifinal finish in the women’s team and men’s team events.
The Philippines vs Thailand mixed doubles semifinal was the last match at Centre Court, and it kicked off with a deadlock at 2-2.
Eala and Huey then held serve and converted their second break point in the sixth game to lead at 4-2.
Down 0-40 in the following game, Eala and Huey extended their lead to 5-2 after the Thais hit a long backhand.
Isaro and Cheapchandej then saved two set points to trail at 3-5, and the Filipinos replied with a determined service hold to take the first set, 6-3.
The Thais bounced back in the second set, breaking away with a 4-1 edge.
Eala and Huey saved four break points to trim the deficit to 2-4, but Isaro and Cheapchandej remained solid to hold serve, 5-2.
The Philippine netters saved three set points to catch up at 3-5, and the Thais fought back to clinch the second set, 6-3, and force a super tiebreak.
Isaro and Cheapchandej maintained their momentum, taking a 3-0 lead which they widened to 5-2.
Two long backhands from the Thais allowed Eala and Huey to inch closer at 4-5, but Isaro and Cheapchandej continued to dominate the super tiebreak, winning the next five points, 10-4, to reach the final.
En route to the semis, Eala and Huey received a bye in the first round and overpowered Phonephathep Philavong and Sataporn Simmalavong of Laos in the quarterfinals, 6-2, 6-2.
Eala, the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Roland Garros girls’ doubles champion, has another semifinal match in the women’s singles draw where she is also the No. 2 seed.
The 16-year-old Rafa Nadal Academy player will face No. 4 seed Luksika Kumkhum of Thailand after trouncing Jo-Leen Saw of Malaysia in the quarters, 6-2, 6-0.
Eala is coming off her second professional title win last month at the W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand, where she beat Kumkhum in straight sets.
Earlier at Court 2, eight-time ATP doubles titlist and SEA Games men’s team and mixed doubles gold medalist Huey made it to the men’s doubles semifinals with Ruben Gonzales.
The No. 1 seeds posted an overwhelming 6-2, 6-2 win against Syed Mohamad Agil Syed Naguib and Hao Shen Koay of Malaysia in the quarterfinals, as reported from Bac Ninh by Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News.
Huey and Gonzales, the 2022 Savannah Challenger doubles winners and 2019 SEA Games men’s doubles silver medalists, got a bye in the first round.
Defending men’s doubles gold medalists Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon also advanced to the semis with a 6-1, 7-5 upset over No. 3 seeds Christopher Rungkat and Muhammad Rifqi Fitriadi of Indonesia.
In the opening round, 2009 Australian Open boys’ doubles champion Alcantara and Patrombon quickly moved past Mathew David Krusling and Samneang Long of Cambodia, 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile, Marian Capadocia and Shaira Hope Rivera failed to capitalize on their second–set comeback in the quarters, losing 7-10 in the super tiebreak to No. 4 seeds Jawairiah Noordin and Sharifah Elysia Wan Abdul Rahman of Malaysia.
Eric Olivarez, Jr., who scored a 6-3, 6-3 win over Tegar Abdi Satrio Wibowo of Indonesia in the first round, also suffered a loss in the quarterfinals against Mick Lescure Sadettan of Laos, 3-6, 2-6.