Alex Eala achieved one of the most remarkable comeback wins in Asian Games tennis history on Wednesday, securing another bronze medal for Team PH at the Olympic Tennis Centre in Hangzhou.
Eala triumphed with a scoreline of 0-6, 7-5, 6-0 against Japan’s Kyoka Okamura.
In the first set, Eala, seeded No. 4, appeared like a beginner, making numerous errors, including some basic mistakes. Additionally, Okamura showcased a solid game from the baseline. She even lost her first serve in the second set, giving Okamura a 2-0 lead.
Fortunately, Eala found her second wind and rallied fiercely to win the second set, which proved to be enough to take the fight out of her Japanese rival.
The third set told a different tale, as Eala dictated the tempo, securing another victory that may be remembered as one of the highlights of her flourishing career.
This victory sets up an exciting semifinal match for the 18-year-old Filipina sensation against top seed Zheng Qinwen of China, who narrowly won the opening set against Park Sohyn of South Korea, 7-6 (4), 6-0.
Notably, Zheng Qinwen reached the quarterfinals of the US Open in New York, defeating last year’s runner-up Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. While Eala is currently ranked No. 192, the Chinese top seed holds the No. 23 spot in the latest ITF rankings.
The last time a country secured a medal in the continental showpiece was 17 years ago, thanks to Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino, who won two bronze medals in the Doha edition.
Eala’s day is not yet over, as she and Francis Casey Alcantara are scheduled to face top seed Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Ravinderkrishan Raina of India in the third round of the mixed doubles event later this afternoon.