Tennis: Alex Eala bows out of Czech tournament

Rosy Mina

Posted at Nov 23 2021 09:14 PM

MANILA — Alex Eala’s comeback on the ITF World Tennis Tour was cut short by 8th seed Darya Astakhova of Russia, 6-2, 6-2, at the W25 Milovice - Milovice Indoor Open 2021 Tuesday in Czech Republic. 

Following her stint in the US Open Junior Championships in September where she was a singles quarterfinalist and doubles semifinalist, the 16-year-old Filipino tennis star was sidelined by a foot injury. Her last ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour event was the W25 Madrid in June. 

At the $25,000 Czech tournament slated from November 22 to 28, Eala entered the main draw as a junior exempt. She is the juniors World No. 4 with a career high of No. 2 while on the pro tour, she is the WTA World No. 524.

Their first round match saw World No. 291 Astakhova, 19, clinch the first break in the third game to lead at 2-1. Eala managed to earn two break points in the succeeding game, but a hard-fought deuce went in favor of the Russian. 

Astakhova continued to lead, and in the seventh game, she broke again to serve for the set at 5-2. After 35 minutes of play, Astakhova secured the first set, 6-2.

The Russian immediately broke serve in the second set, and the Filipino replied by breaking serve as well. Astakhova went on to win the next four games to take a 5-1 lead, and Eala held serve to trail at 5-2. 

With Astakhova serving for the match, Eala fought off two match points and forced a deuce until the Russian claimed victory on her third match point. 

Astakhova had better first and second serve percentages, with the Russian having 2 aces and 2 double faults versus Eala’s 5 double faults. Their match at Court 3 of the Milten Sport Centrum Milovice lasted for 1 hour and 13 minutes. 

In the second round, Astakhova will face 26-year-old qualifier and World No. 403 Sarah Beth Grey of Great Britain, who ousted Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 6-4, 6-1. 

Meanwhile, Eala is on a quest for her second professional title following her championship victory in January at the W15 Manacor tilt in Spain. 

In the juniors, the Rafa Nadal Academy scholar bagged the 2021 Roland Garros girls’ doubles title with Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia, adding to her 2020 Australian Open girls’ doubles crown with Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia.

 

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