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(C) Alex Eala


ITF: Alex Eala loses steam, crashes out of W25 Madrid

Third seed Alex Eala blew a first-set win and a 4-2 lead in the third set, dropping a 6-2, 4-6, 4-6 decision to fifth seed Makenna Jones of the United States in the quarterfinals of the ITF Villa de Madrid Copa Volvo, held on Saturday at Court 13 of the Ciudad Raqueta in Madrid, Spain.

The 18-year-old Eala got off to a strong start by going up 2-0 after breaking her American foe’s serve in the second game of the opening set.

The 25-year-old Jones refused to go away easily and clawed her way back into the set at 2-2.

Eala quickly diffused the threat from Jones as the Filipina teen star won the next four games to claim the first set, 6-2.

Jones found her stride in the second set and took a 3-0 lead. Eala, the 2022 US Open girls’ singles champion, broke Jones in the 4th game and held her serve to narrow the gap to 2-3.

She had multiple chances to tie the score in the sixth game but failed to convert. This gave Jones the opening to extend her lead to 5-2.

Eala made one final rally but couldn’t prolong the match, closing in at 5-4 with multiple break point opportunities. Jones closed out the set in the tenth game, 6-4, forcing a third set.

The third set was a test of character.

The two players exchanged service breaks, ending the 4th game at 2-2. Eala was the first to hold her serve in the decider, then broke Jones to go up 4-2.

#ReadMore  Alex Eala moves on to French Open QF

Just when Eala seemed poised to secure her spot in the semifinals, Jones found her second wind and won the next four games, closing out the match at 6-4.

Coming off a successful ITF W25 campaign in Yecla, Spain, the previous week, where she won her third pro title, Eala had not dropped a set in her first two matches in Madrid.

She experienced some tense moments before defeating American Jessica Failla in the opening round, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8), and followed it up with a second-round triumph over another American, qualifier Alana Smith, 6-4, 6-4.

The Filipina tennis sensation will take a one-week break before plunging back into action in the Open Villa de Tauste – Tomas Arrieta & Altra Logistica, a $25,000 ITF event in Spain.

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