Alex Eala could not sustain her strong start against France’s Chloe Paquet, bowing, 6-4, 5-7, 3-6, to exit the a exited the 2022 Engie Open de l’Isere, Thursday evening (Philippine time) at Grenoble Tennis in France.
It was a tall order for Eala to try to beat the Frenchwoman based on the WTA rankings — Paquet is at 118, while the Filipino is at 587, but she almost did so and almost went into the last eight.
The 16-year-old prodigy made it a battle in the deciding set with a service hold to come within one game at 2-3, and then stopped the hometown bet in ending the match with a break to love at 3-5. Nonetheless, Paquet eventually took the last three points on the Eala serve to stop the contest at two hours and 34 minutes.
Eala first took control of the opening set with a three games to one lead after forcing the 27-year-old to a double fault and went a double break up. The Frenchwoman then kept it close, getting one of the breaks back, to go at 3-4. However, the two then traded service games to end the set with the Filipino having the set advantage.
It was more of the same in the second set with Eala taking a huge 3-0 lead. Then the momentum swung in favor of Paquet in that arduous eighth game where the more veteran netter denied Eala the lead but instead leveled the set at four games apiece. That set the tone before a service break gave Paquet the chance to eventually send the match into a decider.