Tennis: Alex Eala barges into W25 Monastir quarterfinals

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 26 2023 06:49 PM

Filipino teen Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open in Hua Hin. 2023 Thailand Open.
Filipino teen Alex Eala at the WTA Thailand Open in Hua Hin. 2023 Thailand Open.

Filipino No. 1 seed Alex Eala reached her first quarterfinal of the season at the W25 Monastir in Tunisia after eliminating Swiss ace Nadine Keller, 6-1, 6-4, on Friday.

Their second-round clash on the outdoor hard court of Hotel Skanes Family Monastir began on Thursday, with Eala taking a 5-1 lead until rain interrupted the match.

WTA World No. 262 Eala, who turned 18 on May 23, easily secured a 3-0 lead in the first set.

The 23-year-old Keller, who is ranked 483rd, was able to hold serve at 40-30 to trail at 1-3.

Eala managed to hold, then broke again for 5-1 after Keller committed a double fault.

As she was serving for the set, Eala gained one point, 15-0, before play was halted.

Their match resumed on Friday, and two-time ITF women’s singles winner Eala saved three break points to claim the first set, 6-1.

The defending US Open Juniors singles champion carried on with a 3-1 edge in the second set.

Keller, whose only ITF singles title was from the 2022 W15 Monastir, leveled at 3-3 by breaking serve after four deuces.

At 4-4, after an exchange of breaks, Eala broke serve to love after a Keller double fault.

Eala, who reached a career-best ranking of World No. 214 in October, served for the set but was faced with two break points.

She secured the victory on her first match point, 6-4, to book a quarterfinal spot against 21-year-old Chinese qualifier Jiaqi Wang, who upset No. 6 seed Viktoria Morvayova of Slovakia, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4.

In the opening round, Eala posted a breezy win over qualifier and World No. 1091 Anja Wildgruber of Germany, 6-1, 6-1.

The North African country of Tunisia is where Eala made her professional debut on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour at the 2020 W15 Monastir. The then 14-year-old lost in three sets in the second round against Swiss No. 3 seed Nina Stadler.

The Rafa Nadal Academy player went on to claim two women’s singles championships at the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.

On the juniors side, she backed her 2020 Australian Open girls’ doubles crown with the 2021 Roland Garros girls’ doubles title.

The former ITF Juniors World No. 2 became the first Filipino junior singles grand slam champion at the 2022 US Open.

Also in 2022, Eala made her Southeast Asian Games debut in Vietnam and took home the bronze for women’s singles, mixed doubles with Treat Huey, and women’s team event.


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