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(C) Alex Eala


US Open: Alex Eala eliminates Mirra Andreeva, advances to semis

Alex Eala booked herself a semifinal seat in the US Open girls singles in impressive fashion.

The 17-year-old Eala thumped her doubles partner, 14th seed Mirra Andreeva of Russia, in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0, in the quarterfinals at Court 9 of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York City.

The 15-year-old Andreeva, considered one of the future stars of Russian tennis, has been on a roll as of late.

Just this year, she won one W25 event and two W15 events in the ITF circuit, the only player her age to win three titles in the pro tour.

On Wednesday, Andreeva upset top seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium in three sets to set up the quarterfinal encounter with Eala.

Eala had a shaky start against Andreeva as the Filipina teen star dropped her serve in the opening game of the first set. Eala stared at a 2-4 deficit even as she scored more winners, she also had 13 unforced errors compared to Andreeva’s three.

The 10th seeded Eala, the only Asian to get past the first round of the competition, then switched her game to another level. She broke Andreeva in the 8th and 10th game to score a come-from-behind first-set win.

The second set was all Eala as she did blank her Russian rival.

From the halfway point of the opening set until the end of the match, Eala only logged six unforced errors.

In the semifinals which are scheduled on Friday (Saturday morning, Philippine time), Eala will be facing 16-year-old Victoria Mboko of Canada. Mboko, who also reached the semifinals of the Wimbledon juniors this year, won over 4th seed Celine Naef of Switzerland in the quarterfinals.

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Eala has a chance to make further history if she becomes the first player from the Philippines to make the finals of a junior singles grand slam event.

There have only been two instances that a Philippine tennis player made the singles semifinals of a junior grand slam tournament. These were in the 1984 Wimbledon boys singles when Felix Barrientos made the final four, and the 2020 French Open girls singles when Eala duplicated the feat and made the semis.

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