In W100 Poland debut, Alex Eala conquers Slovak qualifier

Rosy Mina

Posted at Aug 02 2022 07:57 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2022 08:17 PM

Alex Eala at the W25 El Espinar/Segovia in Spain. Photo courtesy of Open Castilla y León Villa de El Espinar on Facebook.
Alex Eala at the W25 El Espinar/Segovia in Spain. Photo courtesy of Open Castilla y León Villa de El Espinar on Facebook.

In her maiden foray into a $100,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament, Alex Eala of the Philippines conquered qualifier Laura Svatikova of Slovakia, 6-4, 6-4, at the W100 Grodzisk Mazowiecki in Poland on Tuesday.

Their first-round match, held at Court 14 of the Akademia Tenisowa Tenis Kozerki, began with Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) World No. 280 Eala racing to a 4-1 lead with a love service hold.

The 17-year-old Filipino followed this up with a service break via a forehand cross-court winner to serve for the set at 5-1.

Svatikova, the 28-year-old WTA World No. 1,322, refused to give up by securing the next three games to trail at 4-5.

The Slovak broke to be at 2-5 after a double fault by Eala, held serve with a forehand winner, and broke again after Eala hit a forehand long. 

With Eala serving for the set for the second time, she forced a long backhand return to gain two set points. 

She let out a forehand cross-court approach shot winner in response to Svatikova’s drop shot to take the first set, 6-4, in 37 minutes.

The Filipino teen continued her run in the second set, 4-1, even after her Slovakian opponent forced the fifth game to deuce.

Eala returned another drop shot with a backhand cross-court approach shot winner to advance to 5-2, and Svatikova responded by forcing a forehand return of serve error to be at 3-5.

As Eala was serving for the match at 15-30, she caught up with a forehand passing shot winner and gained a match point after Svatikova netted a backhand drop shot.

A long forehand shot by Eala brought the game to deuce, and errors from the Filipino gave the Slovak four break point opportunities.

Eala managed to save the break points until Svatikova let out a forehand drop shot winner to gain a fifth chance to break. 

The Slovak finally broke serve, 4-5, after Eala netted a forehand on the run.

In the following game, Eala quickly gained the upperhand, 30-0, with a backhand winner, then earned three match points after her backhand return of serve was netted by Svatikova.

Eala clinched the second set, 6-4, in 46 minutes after her backhand return of serve yielded a forehand error.

In the second round, Eala will seek to beat No. 14 seed Katharina Hobgarski of Germany, who received a bye in the opening round.

Hobgarski, 25, is the WTA World No. 250 with a career-high of No. 193 achieved in 2019.

Last week, Eala was the No. 4 seed at the W25 El Espinar/Segovia in Spain, where she was routed in the semifinals.

It was the fourth semifinal result of the season so far for the Rafa Nadal Academy player who has won two singles titles on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour: the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.

 

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