Tennis: Alex Eala bows to No. 3 seed Maria in Guangzhou Open

Rosy Mina

Posted at Sep 19 2023 08:08 PM

Alex Eala on Instagram
Filipino tennis star Alex Eala at the 2023 WTA Guangzhou Open in China. Alex Eala on Instagram

Filipino qualifier Alex Eala suffered her third defeat to 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria of Germany in the first round of the Guangzhou Open in China.

Eala, 18, was eliminated by the 36-year-old third seed, 3-6, 0-6, at Court 2 of the Guangzhou Nansha International Tennis Center on Tuesday.

Her other losses to the German also took place this year in the WTA main draw first round of the Thailand Open in Hua Hin, 2-6, 2-6, and Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, 1-6, 1-6.

With a new career-high ranking of World No. 191, Eala was determined to post her first win over the 48th-ranked Maria as both players firmly notched service holds to be at 3-3.

After Maria held at 40-30 to advance to 4-3, she caught up to deuce and put the pressure on Eala to hold serve for the fourth time in a row.

Two more deuces later, the German veteran secured the crucial break for 5-3 after her teenage opponent let out a long forehand.

Despite conceding a set point due to a double fault, Maria served out the set at 40-30 to move closer to the second round, 6-3.

In the opening game of the second set, a smooth lob passing shot allowed Maria to break at deuce.

Eala sought to counter Maria’s slices with booming returns in her next service game, and she saved two break points to force a deuce.

Maria then hit a backhand slice crosscourt winner on her fourth break point opportunity in the third game to lead at 3-0.

The German with three WTA singles titles continued her run and broke for the fourth time in the match with a down-the-line winner to serve for the win at 5-0.

Eala claimed the first two points of the sixth game and managed to level at deuce after Maria committed a forehand error.

On her second match point, Maria triumphed in one hour and 19 minutes, 6-0, after Eala’s backhand return of serve was called out.

Eala, who was not able to earn a break point, had zero aces and four double faults.

Maria, meanwhile, served four aces and three double faults in her successful opener that arranged a second-round clash with World No. 129 Zhuoxuan Bai of China. 

In the qualifying draw of the WTA 250 tournament, the 10th seed from the Philippines eked out victories over En-Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei, 5-7, 6-1, 7-5, and No. 6 seed Elizabeth Mandlik of the United States, 7-5, 7-6(3).

It was the third time that Eala qualified for a WTA main draw spot in her career, following her first-round results in the Thailand Open in January and Japan Women’s Open in Osaka last week.


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