Tennis: Alex Eala reaches doubles semis, falters in singles at W25 Spain

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 20 2021 10:19 PM | Updated as of May 21 2021 02:42 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) — Alex Eala of the Philippines and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia are through to the doubles semifinals of the $25,000 Platja D’Aro tournament after eliminating the top-seeded Russian duo of Sofya Lansere and Vlada Koval, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10, Thursday in Spain. 

Eala, 15, and Selekhmeteva, 18, were off to a strong start in the quarterfinal as they soared to a 5-1 lead. Serving for the set at 5-2, they were broken but they managed to break back to take the first set, 6-3.

Lansere, 20, and Koval, 19, turned things around in the second set where they secured a commanding 5-0 advantage. Eala and Selekhmeteva were able to break serve, but the Russian tandem carried on to take the second set, 6-2.

In lieu of a third set, they figured in a thrilling 10-point match tiebreak where Eala and Selekhmeteva enjoyed a 6-2 lead. The Russian top seeds, who held on to catch up at 6-9, saved three match points to equalize at 9-9. 

Down 9-10, Eala and Selekhmeteva saved a match point and proceeded to conquer the quarterfinal on their fourth attempt, 12-10. Their match at Court 3 of Club Tennis D’Aro lasted an hour and 15 minutes. 

Although unseeded, Eala and Selekhmeteva are junior girls’ doubles grand slam champions. Eala prevailed at the 2020 Australian Open while Selekhmeteva won at the 2019 US Open. 

The Filipino and Russian, who beat Spanish Valeria Koussenkova and South African Warona Mdlulwa 6-2, 6-0 in the first round, will face Isabelle Haverlag and Suzan Lamens of the Netherlands in the semifinals. The Dutch duo also scored an upset in the quarters against No. 3 seeds Olivia Nicholls of Great Britain and Valeriya Strakhova of Ukraine.

Earlier in the W25 Platja D’Aro singles tournament, Eala missed the chance to reach the quarterfinals after Spanish Irene Burillo Escorihuela scored a sweeping victory over the Filipino ace, 6-2, 6-4.

The second round clash began with Eala taking the lead at 2-0 before Burillo Escorihuela overtook the World No. 662 Filipino and extended her lead to 5-2 with a forehand crosscourt winner. The World No. 271 Spaniard secured the opening set, 6-2, with a forehand down the line.

At 2-2 in the second set, 23-year-old Burillo Escorihuela gained three break points with a forehand passing shot and successfully converted to have a 3-2 advantage. She widened the gap to 4-2 courtesy of a double fault from Eala, and went on to claim the match, 6-4, with an ace to the T.

En route to the second round, the Filipino tennis star beat qualifier Alba Carrillo Marin of Spain, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, after over 3 hours of play. Eala, the 2021 W15 Manacor champion, will continue her W25 Platja D’Aro campaign in the doubles semis slated on Friday. 

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