Alex Eala, Russia’s Selekhmeteva win French Open girls' doubles title

Rosy Mina

Posted at Jun 12 2021 07:24 PM | Updated as of Jun 12 2021 09:49 PM

Alex Eala of the Philippines and Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia have defeated Amarissa Kiara Toth of Hungary and Maria Bondarenko of Russia 6-0, 7-5 to win the 2021 French Open girls' doubles championship in Paris on Saturday. 

For Eala, this is her second major doubles title following her victory at the 2020 Australian Open. Eala and Selekhmeteva were the top seeds at Roland Garros.

“Sa lahat ng mga Pinoy na nanood, maraming salamat sa suporta. It’s actually the [Philippine] Independence Day today so I hope that I made my contribution to the country. Thank you,” said Eala, the 2020 Australian Open junior girls’ doubles champion, during her victory speech. 

The Rafa Nadal Academy, where Eala trains, congratulated its student.

The 16-year-old Filipino ace also addressed Selekhmeteva. 

“I wanna say a big, big thank you to my partner. She had a really tough match. She fought really, really, really hard both in singles and doubles. I couldn’t ask for a better partner this week,” she said, and then hugged Selekhmeteva, the 2019 US Open girls’ doubles champion.

“Thanks to everyone who was supporting us and watching us,” said Selekhmeteva, 18, who mentioned that their parents were in attendance at Court 13. The 2021 Roland Garros junior girls’ doubles champions also congratulated Toth and Bondarenko, and the runners-up praised the winners for a great match. 

Globe Ambassador Eala and Selekhmeteva asserted their supremacy by claiming the first set with a bagel in merely 20 minutes. They won all 3 of their break points and had a 67% win on 1st serve and 86% win on 2nd serve. 

A sharp forehand winner down the T from Eala sealed their 2-0 lead, and the Filipino-Russian tandem continued to dominate 4-0. 

Eala and Selekhmeteva saved break points to win the 5th game with a smash from Selekhmeteva, a double fault from Toth and Bodarenko, and a forehand volley winner courtesy of Eala. While serving for the set, Eala and Selekhmeteva saved another break point and earned the opening set thanks to a lovely drop shot from Selekhmeteva.

Toth, a 2019 Wimbledon girls’ doubles quarterfinalist, and Bondarenko, a 2020 Roland Garros girls’ doubles finalist, turned things around in the second set by breaking serve in the 4th game to advance to 3-1. Eala and Selekhmeteva replied with a break and Toth and Bodarenko broke again to lead at 4-2. 

Eala and Selekhmeteva broke once more and held serve in the following game to catch up at 4-4. 

In the 9th game, they broke to serve for the match after Toth and Bodarenko failed to return Eala’s backhand return of serve. The Hungarian-Russian tandem fought on to level at 5-5, and in the 11th game, Eala and Selekhmeteva broke to serve for the match again at 6-5. They claimed the second set, 7-5, in 47 minutes with Selekhmeteva’s volley sealing the match.

The Filipino-Russian pair, who settled for a runner-up finish in May at the W25 Platja D’Aro tournament in Spain, completed their stellar run at Roland Garros without losing a set.

They posted a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Evialina Laskevich of Belarus and Alina Shcherbinina of Russia in the opening round, followed by a 6-3, 6-1 win over Sofia Costoulas of Belgium and Laura Hietaranta of Finland in the second round. 

In the quarterfinals, they eliminated Petra Marcinko of Croatia and Natalia Szabanin of Hungary, 7-6(7), 7-6(5), and in the semifinals, they beat defending champions Eleonora Alvisi and Lisa Pigato of Italy, 6-2, 6-1.

Eala, a Roland Garros junior girls’ singles semifinalist in 2020, was defeated by Matilda Mutavdzic of Great Britain, 6-4, 6-7(4), 6-1, in the opening round this year. In January, the Rafa Nadal Academy scholar won the W15 Manacor tournament in Spain, which earned Eala her professional title.

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