Alex Eala booked her place in the quarterfinal after turning back Greece’s Michaela Laki, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the third round of the 2021 US Open girls’ singles event at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, Thursday (Philippine time).
After two match points, the world number two finally closed out the match with the second of her two cross-court shots. Laki could not respond, effectively ending an arduous two-hour, 23-minute battle.
Eala seized the match after facing adversity in that fifth game of the final set, and finally took the pivotal 3-2 lead. Three breakpoint opportunities for Laki went begging. Eala then found her mark in the succeeding points, and ultimately saw the Greek gassed out in the last two rallies.
From there, Eala was vicious on her attacks and carried the momentum into the final stretches of the match. That completed the comeback and averted the upset, despite needing to fend off the Greek one last time.
The world number 2 earlier led 2-0 against Laki, but the latter zoomed past Eala after getting that service break. Despite the attempt from the Filipino, Laki pocketed the set advantage with a closeout on her own serve.
It was more of the same in the second round at the start, with Eala taking the lead once more. This time, though, neither player could break free from the other after they exchanged breaks. Laki caught up at five games apiece to extend the set, but Eala eventually took the frame and extended not just the set, but the match.
The two will face each other once more later today as they compete in the doubles event. Eala will team up with Hanne Vandewinkel of Belgium when they take on Laki and Cezchia’s Radka Zelnickova.