Tennis: Alex Eala, partner ease into French Open Junior doubles quarters

Rosy Mina

Posted at Jun 08 2021 11:34 PM

Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva and Filipino Alex Eala. Photo courtesy of Rafa Nadal Academy

MANILA—The top-seeded pair of Filipino Alex Eala and Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva is through to the Roland Garros junior girls’ doubles quarterfinals after imposing a swift 6-3, 6-1 victory over Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and Laura Hietaranta of Finland Tuesday in Paris, France.

Eala and Selekhmeteva amped up their serve and sustained their power and precision throughout their 2nd round match that lasted for only 57 minutes. The W25 Platja D’Aro Spanish tournament finalists had zero double faults, posted 21 out of 25 wins on first serve (84%), and converted all six of their break points.

They were the first to break in the opening set to have a 3-2 advantage. Eala tipped a forehand volley winner that forced an error to widen their lead to 4-2. Serving for the set at 5-2, with Eala on serve, they failed to convert a set point and yielded the eighth game to their opponents. They wasted no time by earning two set points in the following game and breaking back to take the first set, 6-3.

The 16-year-old Filipino and 18-year-old Russian literally smashed their way through the second set, as Selekhmeteva’s smash sealed their 3-0 lead and another smash from the Russian extended their lead to 4-0. They were broken in the next game and they responded with a break to serve for the set at 5-1. Eala sealed the match at 6-1 with a forceful forehand winner.

Eala and Selekhmeteva, both junior doubles grand slam champions, will face either Barbora Palicova of Czech Republic and Annabelle Xu of Canada or No. 5 seeds Petra Marcinko of Croatia and Natalia Szabanin of Hungary in the quarterfinals.

In the first round on Monday, 2020 Australian Open junior girls’ doubles champion Eala and 2019 US Open girls’ doubles champion Selekhmeteva overcame Evialina Laskevich of Belarus and Alina Shcherbinina of Russia, 6-4, 6-4.

Prior to her first round doubles match, Eala was ousted in the junior girls’ singles opening round where the No. 2 seed was defeated by Matilda Mutavdzic of Great Britain, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1. Ninth seed Selekhmeteva, meanwhile, is in the third round of the junior girls’ singles where she will face No. 7 seed Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus. 

Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy scholar, reached the Roland Garros junior girls’ semifinals in October 2020. More than three months later, she clinched her first professional title at the W15 Manacor tournament in Spain. 

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