Tennis: Eala suffers upset in W25 Monastir quarters

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 27 2023 03:02 PM

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

MANILA — Top seed Alex Eala of the Philippines was ousted by qualifier Jiaqi Wang of China, 6-0, 4-6, 3-6, in the quarterfinals of the W25 Monastir tournament in Tunisia on Friday. 

Eala, who turned 18 on May 23, is the WTA World No. 262 while the 21-year-old Wang has a ranking of No. 1131.

Their quarterfinal was Eala’s second match of the day at Hotel Skanes Family Monastir, following the resumption of her interrupted Round 2 match a few hours earlier. 

The two-time ITF women’s singles winner blasted to a 5-0 lead via a love service hold after overcoming deuce and breaking serve in the second and fourth games.

She clinched her third service break to take the opening set, 6-0. 
Wang regrouped in the second set as she fought her way to deuce in the first game, broke for 1-0, and widened her lead to 3-0 with another service break.

Eala broke back to get on the scoreboard, 1-3, but that was the last service break in the second set.

After Eala’s love service hold made her inch closer at 2-3, Wang pulled away to 5-3 after saving two break points in the sixth game and overcoming three deuces in the eighth game.

Wang served out the second set, 6-4, to set up a decider against the reigning US Open Juniors titlist. 

In the third set, the Chinese ace secured a 3-0 lead after the Filipino teen committed a double fault.

Eala broke back after fighting off three deuces, and Wang advanced to 5-1 after breaking serve and then moving past deuce on her third break point opportunity.

Wang got the chance to serve for the match at 5-2, but she opened the eighth game with a double fault that paved the way for Eala to complete a service break.

While serving to stay in the match, Eala dealt with two deuces before being faced with a match point, which Wang successfully converted to reach the semifinals. 

Their quarterfinal clash lasted two hours and 28 minutes, with Wang having one ace, three double faults, and six out of eight break points converted.

Meanwhile, Eala had two aces, four double faults, and six out of 13 break points won.

Eala opened her W25 Monastir campaign with a 6-1, 6-1 win over German qualifier and World No. 1091 Anja Wildgruber.

In the second round, she saw off World No. 483 Nadine Keller of Switzerland, 6-1, 6-4.

Eala, who reached a career-high ranking of World No. 214 in October, is on a quest for her third professional singles championship to add to her titles from the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.

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