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Photo by Pete Staples/USTA


Eala, Vanderwinkel end US Open run after semis loss

The dream run for first-time partners Alex Eala and Hanne Vanderwinkel came to a close.

The Filipino-Belgian pair could not follow up on their gritty win in the quarterfinal and instead absorbed a sorry defeat against Americans Reese Brantmeier and Elvina Kalieva, 7-5, 2-6, [7-10] in the semifinal of the 2021 US Open junior girls’ doubles tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, Saturday (Philippine time).

The hometown bets halted a furious run from Eala and Vandewinkel in the match tiebreak to end the one-hour-and-eight-minute tussle for a place in the final after effectively eliminating the cross-court return, primarily from the top-seed Filipino singles player.

Vandewinkel put the deficit back to two at 7-9 with a well-placed forehand volley down the alley, but could not make it two-in-a-row and instead missed on another attempt that ended the match.

Eala and Vandewinkle found themselves down by three sets points at the first set and needed something to at least force a tiebreak. However, they did not just force an extension, they even won the set after needing two set points of their own after forcing an error from the opponents.

Knowing they have controlled the match since its start, Kalieva and Brantmeier just turned it up the notch in the following set. The Americans took advantage of the Vandewinkle serve in the third game to go up a break, and another break on the Belgian serve afterwards effectively gave them the set and the extension.

From there, the Americans coasted through the match tiebreak and led by as much as five, 8-3, and just fended off the comeback attempt from their opponents to book themselves a championship date with fellow Americans Ashlyn Krueger and Robin Montgomery.

#ReadMore  Alex Eala takes first-ever double with JA Milan singles plum

Just a few hours prior, Eala and Vanderwinkel subdued Americans Elizabeth Coleman and Madison Sieg, 6-1, 6(4)-7, [10-7] to enter the final four.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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