Alex Eala caps off SEA Games debut with 3rd bronze medal

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 20 2022 03:36 PM

Filipino teen tennis star Alex Eala at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Tennis Federation.
Filipino teen tennis star Alex Eala at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Tennis Federation.


Alex Eala of the Philippines earned her third bronze medal at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Vietnam, following her defeat to Thailand in the women’s singles semifinals on Friday.

No. 2 seed Eala, 16, suffered a 4-6, 1-6 loss at the hands of No. 4 seed Luksika Kumkhum, 28, at the Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Centre Court in Tu Son, Bac Ninh province. 

In the final, Kumkhum will go up against countrywoman Anchisa Chanta, 19, who scored an upset against No. 1 seed Chanelle Van Nguyen of Vietnam in the semis.
 
Eala has won two other bronze medals in her SEA Games debut, courtesy of her semifinal results in the women’s team event and mixed doubles with Treat Huey. Both semis were lost to Thailand. 

The Hanoi SEA Games semifinal was the third meeting of Eala and Kumkhum, with the first being the W25 Chiang Rai final in Thailand that went in favor of the Filipino in straight sets.

Eala and Kumkhum met again in the SEA Games team event semifinals, where the Thai overcame the Filipino in three sets.

On Friday, the Filipino and Thai were tied at 4-4 until Kumkhum broke on her third opportunity and held serve to clinch the first set, 6-4, on her fourth set point.

Kumkhum kept going in the second set, taking a 4-1 lead until Eala called for a medical timeout. 

When play resumed, Kumkhum held serve then broke to claim victory, 6-1, causing Eala to settle for bronze – the same result that her mother, Rizza Maniego-Eala, had in the 100m backstroke swimming competition of the 1985 Bangkok SEA Games.

Meanwhile, two Philippine tennis teams will see action against the home bets in the men’s doubles semifinals on Friday afternoon.

No. 1 seeds Treat Huey and Ruben Gonzales will face Minh Tuan Pham and Linh Giang Trinh, while defending gold medalists Francis Casey Alcantara and Jeson Patrombon will play against Quoc-Khanh Le and Van Phuong Nguyen.

In 2019, Alcantara and Patrombon prevailed over Huey and Gonzales in the all-Filipino final in Manila. 

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