No. 2 seed Alex Eala was the first casualty of the upset axe after a shocking loss to Great Britain’s Matilda Mutavdzic, 4-6, 7-6, 1-6, in the first round of the 2021 French Open girls’ singles tournament at the Stade Roland Garros in Paris, France, Monday evening (Manila time).
The ITF Manacor Leg 1 champion had three chances to extend her stint in the competition, but the world No. 864’s determination proved up to the task. Much like the rest of the match, an unforced error sealed Eala’s early exit after nearly two hours and 33 minutes.
Mutavdzic showed signs as early as the first set. She traded breaks with the higher-seeded Filipino to take the opening to a stalemate at two games apiece. Later on, she took the match’s first service hold to take the 3-2 lead.
Eala then took advantage of the lapses from the British 16-year-old to snatch the upper hand at 4-3. That turned out to be her last as her service continued to desert her and ultimately lost the opening set.
The Filipino then waxed hot in the following frame with her life on the line. She eventually took the 5-1 lead.
She needed that much leeway, as Mutavdzic stormed back to force a tiebreak. Nonetheless, Eala leaned on experience to come from a 1-4 deficit and win the extension.
The comeback from Mutavdzic was the warning Eala should have heeded. It propelled the former in each of the games in the third and won it for her.
This is the first time Eala has exited a Grand Slam singles tournament in the very first round.
The reigning Australian Open doubles champion looks to make amends as she competes later in the day in the first round of the doubles tournament with new partner in Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva.