Tennis: Alex Eala, Russian partner breeze through doubles final at W25 Spain

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 22 2021 02:33 AM | Updated as of May 22 2021 02:02 PM

MANILA—Filipino Alex Eala and Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva advanced to the doubles final of the $25,000 Platja D’Aro tournament in Spain with a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Isabelle Haverlag and Suzan Lamens of the Netherlands.

In the final, the Filipino and Russian teens will battle it out with 25-year-olds Oana Georgeta Simion of Romania and Ustina Mikulskyte of Lithuania, who ousted Spaniards Jessica Bouzas Maneiro and Claudia Hoste Ferrer 6-0, 6-2.

The W25 Platja D’Aro is the first professional doubles tournament for Eala, who won the Australian Open junior girls’ doubles championship in 2020. 

Selekhmeteva is the 2019 US Open girls doubles champion, while Simion and Mikulskyte each have multiple professional and juniors doubles titles. 

Friday’s semifinal, dominated by the 15-year-old Eala and 18-year-old Selekhmeteva, was 53 minutes long. It featured the no-advantage scoring method for games at deuce, also called “sudden death” with the receiver’s choice.

The Dutch duo opened the match with a 2-0 lead, and the Filipino and Russian quickly caught up at 2-2. With a backhand down the line winner from Eala, she and Selekhmeteva took the lead at 3-2. After holding serve to get to 5-3, Eala and Selekhmeteva broke to secure the first set, 6-3.

The Filipino-Russian tandem became more aggressive in the next set, preventing their opponents from getting on the scoreboard in the first five games. 

A volley down the T from Eala nailed a comfortable 5-0 lead, to which the Dutch pair replied with a hold of serve. At match point, Eala let out a forceful backhand that was netted by the opponent, closing out the set, 6-1, in favor of the Filipino and Russian.

Eala and Selekhmeteva’s semis win is a breather compared to their arduous victory in the quarterfinals where they scored an upset over the top-seeded Russian pair of Sofya Lansere and Vlada Koval, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10. In the first round, they posted a 6-2, 6-0 win over South African Warona Mdlulwa and Spanish Valeria Koussenkova. 

Meanwhile, Eala also entered the W25 Platja D’Aro singles tournament as a junior exempt. The World No. 662 and 2021 W15 Manacor champion defeated Spanish qualifier Alba Carrillo Marin, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, in the opening round. Eala’s singles campaign ended on Thursday in the second round where Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain prevailed, 6-2, 6-4.

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