Tennis: Alex Eala smashes into W60 Madrid final

Tennis: Alex Eala smashes into W60 Madrid final

Tennis: Alex Eala smashes into W60 Madrid final
Alex Eala of the Philippines at the W60 Madrid tournament in Spain. Photo courtesy of Michael Eala on Instagram

MANILA – Alex Eala of the Philippines smashed her way into the final of the W60 Madrid tournament in Spain on Saturday after overwhelming No. 16 seed Katherine Sebov of Canada, 6-2, 6-1, in the semifinals.

Sebov, the 23-year-old WTA World No. 333, is the fourth seeded player that Eala, 17, has beaten in the $60,000 ITF tilt.

WTA World No. 413 Eala first eliminated qualifier Lia Karatancheva of Bulgaria, then beat No. 11 seed Daniela Seguel of Chile in the second round, No. 7 seed Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers of Spain in the third round, and No. 3 seed Jaimee Fourlis of Australia in the quarterfinals.

“I am super happy to be in the finals,” Eala said during the on-court interview, adding that she is very happy that she was able to overcome playing on the outdoor hard court surface of Club Deportivo Brezo Osuna, which is new to her.

The opening semifinal of the day was the first singles face-off between Eala and Sebov, although they clashed in the W25 Madrid doubles quarterfinals this month, which went in favor of the Canadian.

Eala, the 2021 W15 Manacor and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai champion, was first to take the lead, 2-0, by breaking serve after bringing the opening game to deuce, then holding serve by forcing a return of serve error.

Sebov, the 2018 W60 Saguenay winner, recovered to trail at 2-3 after taking the fifth game, which went to deuce thrice.

Eala pulled away to 4-2 with a fierce forehand winner, and moved on to 5-2 with a quick service break courtesy of a long forehand by Sebov.

Serving for the first set, Eala opened with an ace then won it on her third opportunity, 6-2, after Sebov returned serve with a backhand into the net.

In the second set, Eala secured a 3-1 lead after hitting a forehand drop shot winner to take the third game, then holding serve to love with a forehand winner to claim the fourth game.

The Filipino teen continued to dominate with a 5-1 edge, and went on to win the match, 6-1, to play in the final against either Adithya Karunaratne of Hong Kong or No. 14 seed Marina Bassols Ribera of Spain.

Meanwhile, in the W60 Madrid doubles draw, Eala teamed up with En Shuo Liang of Chinese Taipei for a quarterfinal result.

Eala, a two-time junior grand slam girls’ doubles titlist and Rafa Nadal Academy player, is coming off her debut in the 31st Southeast Asian Games in May.

She took home three bronze medals from Vietnam after reaching the semifinals in singles, women’s team event, and mixed doubles.


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