Alex Eala ended her Miami Open debut after an overwhelming defeat from hometown bet Madison Brengle in straight sets, 2-6, 1-6, Wednesday at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The SEA Games-bound upstart had a couple of great shots throughout the match, but the world No. 59 Filipino could not pull off the upset in the one-hour-and 12-minute battle against the WTA 59th-ranked American.
Eala, who is the youngest in this year’s main draw, was broken at the onset, and then Brengle consolidated the break to go up 2-0.
Errors haunted the 16-year-old Filipino’s game as her two double faults in the first set came at a crucial time, giving out the point and the consequent break to Bengle for a huge 5-0 lead.
Eala took one back against the American’s serve, and she then held serve for eventually the only time in the match to cut the deficit to 2-5. However, Brengle wrapped the next service game for the set advantage.
It was more of the same in the second set, only Eala’s break came earlier at 1-3. However, uncharacteristic miscues on the forehand return from the juniors’ standout gave out the games to the 31-year-old opponent for a 5-1 lead for the latter.
Eala held on for dear life with winners from the forehand this time and saved her two match points. Brengle eventually closed out the set and the match off another Eala miss, booking her place into the second round.
The Filipino clinched a wildcard berth into the main draw for this year after needing to participate in the qualifying last year. Eala lost to Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia, 6-4, 4-6, 2-6.