Alex Eala’s power and youth were not enough to overcome the experience and guile of 35-year-old 6th seed Tatjana Maria of Germany.
The Filipina teen lost in straight sets, 2-6, 2-6, in the first round of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 250 Thailand Open held on Tuesday at the True Arena Hua Hin in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
Matched up against Maria who has appeared on the big stage with a women’s singles semifinals finish at last year’s Wimbledon and a women’s doubles quarterfinals in the same Grand Slam event in 2018, Eala had a jittery start as she double faulted on her first two serves which allowed her German foe to break right in the very opening game of the match.
Though the Filipina managed to tie the count at 1-1, she found herself trailing, 2-3, after dropping her serve in the 5th game.
The German veteran, currently ranked 63rd in the world, seized control from that juncture and did not allow the 217th world-ranked Eala to get any closer on the scoreboard. Eala only converted 15 winners while Maria had 27 first set points in a complete display of dominance.
Maria continued to pounce on Eala’s tentative service game in the second set which from the get-go seemed on the way to becoming a repeat of the opening set with a service break going the way of the German.
Despite getting broken in the second game, Maria responded by claiming the next four games in succession to race to an almost insurmountable 1-5 lead.
Eala broke serve in the seventh game but that hardly deterred the Maria from cruising to a comfortable victory.
Eala, the 2022 US Open girls singles title, was making just her third main draw stint in a WTA event while Maria’s quest for the third WTA title of her career continues as she advances to the quarterfinals.