Despite playing her second match with little rest, Alex Eala proved more than the stress and fatigue of big-time competition.
Eala and first-time partner Hanne Vanderwinkel of Belgium leaned back on their strengths to subdue Michaela Laki of Greece and Radka Zelnickova of Czechia, 6-3, 3-6, [10-6]. They move into the last eight of the junior girls’ doubles event of the 2021 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, Thursday (Philippine time).
Eala took matters in her own hands with the last three points of the match tiebreak. She eventually won some well-deserved rest after another hour-long battle in Court 12.
The 16-year-old Filipino looped a strong backhand winner past Zelnickova to pad on the lead after seeing it cut down to one by a previous error. Then she forced Laki into hitting the ball into the net for the match point. Afterwards, she delivered a well-placed serve that the Greek again could not return, closing out the match.
Eala and Vanderwinkel showed no signs of jitters in the opening set after they eased past the opponents. The Belgian powered her way along the service line, while the Filipino bossed the net to eventually dominate the set.
Laki and Zelnickova, however, found a cinch in their armor in the second set. The Europeans took advantage of the early break of serve to lead at 2-1. From there, they fended off any signs of comeback to close the second with a similar score line. That extended the match into a tiebreak.
Eala, on her part, is scheduled to play her quarterfinal singles match later today (Manila time) against Switzerland’s Sebastianna Scilipoti.
In the doubles play, the Filipino and her Belgian partner will take on the winner between Americans Elizabeth Coleman and Madison Sieg (Eala’s partner in Italy) and Petra Marcinko of Croatia and Natalia Szabanin of Hungary.