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Alex Eala barges into singles’ finals of Milan tournament

/ 07:07 PM July 17, 2021
Filipino tennis star Alex Eala in a Wimbledon girls' doubles match

FILE — Filipino tennis star Alex Eala in a Wimbledon girls’ doubles match. ALEX EALA FACEBOOK

MANILA, Philippines–Alex Eala crushed a young Russian prodigy Saturday and stepped right up the doorstep of her first juniors tournaments title in two years.

Playing with a steadier service compared to the past few matches, Eala scored a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over Mirra Andreeva to make the finals of the Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, Italy.

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The 16-year-old top Filipino tennis player will gun for the Grade A championship on Sunday against either Czech Republic’s Nikola Bartunkova or American Clervie Ngounoue who were still playing in the other semis.

Eala and American partner Madison Sieg were to dispute the doubles crown against Croatia’s Lucija Ciric Bagaric and Belgium’s Sofia Costoulas.

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Unlike in her previous matches, Eala was more resolute against the 14-year-old Andreeva who has had three ITF titles under her belt and stunned a third-seed on her way to the semifinals.

Eala quickly dictated the tone with a key break in the eighth game of the first for a 5-3 lead. That put the World No. 102 on the defensive most of the one hour and 15 minutes match.

Andreeva, who pulled the rug from under third seed Czech Brenda Fruhvirtova in the second round, still managed to break back and hold but it was clear Eala got her number from then on.

On the Russian serve, Eala raced from 15-30 but still needed two match points before closing the deal.

The last time Eala won a title in juniors was in 2019 JA in Cape Town.

Aside from her women’s circuit campaign where she is ranked 630th, Eala has been focusing more on the grand slams especially after making the semifinals in 2020 French Open.

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