MANILA — Alex Eala’s maiden run at a WTA tournament came to an end in the Round of 16 of the Winners Open, where Mayar Sherif of Egypt defeated the Filipino ace, 6-2, 6-2, Thursday in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
World No. 639 Eala was a wildcard in the WTA 250 clay tournament. The 16-year-old Filipino ace has one ITF singles title to her name while 25-year-old World No. 119 Sherif has 9 ITF singles titles.
Sherif secured a 3-1 lead in the first set after disallowing Eala to convert break point opportunities in the fourth game. A double fault from the Filipino gave a 5-2 lead to the Egyptian, who successfully served for the set, 6-2.
Eala and Sherif were 2-2 in the second set until a double fault from the Filipino, who committed a total of 8 double faults, gave the Egyptian a 3-2 advantage.
With Sherif serving for the set at 5-2, Eala managed to get a break point but Sherif wrote it off with an ace. At match point, Sherif fired her sixth ace to seal the match, 6-2.
In the opening round, Sherif scored a 6-2, 6-4 upset over top seed and World No. 59 Alize Cornet of France while Eala got past 28-year-old qualifier and World No. 209 Paula Ormaechea of Argentina, 7-5, 6-2.
Following Eala’s loss in the Round of 16, the Winners Open Facebook page stated, “As for Alex Eala, we will surely hear from her soon. Years later, we will remember that her circuit debut and first career victory happened in Cluj.”
The Winners Open also hailed the Rafa Nadal scholar as “one of the most talented players in the new generation” in its announcement of Eala as one of the tournament’s wildcard recipients.
Just last March, Eala received a momentous wildcard for the qualifying draw of the Miami Open, where she lost in three sets in the opening round.
On the juniors side, the Juniors No. 2 and top Asian female junior has girls’ doubles grand slam titles from the 2020 Australian Open with Indonesian Priska Madelyn Nugroho and Roland Garros 2021 with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva.
In July, Eala achieved the singles-doubles title haul at the JA Milan 61° Trofeo Bonfiglio in Italy, her second singles-doubles title sweep as a junior player.