Alex Eala wins 3rd tennis bronze in SEA Games
MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala settled for another bronze medal after falling to Thai rival Luksika Kumkhum, 4-6, 1-6, in the women’s tennis singles semifinal of the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Friday at Hanaka Paris Ocean Park Centre Court in Bac Ninh, Vietnam.
The 16-year-old, who was the No.2 seed, missed the chance to reach the gold medal match as Kumkhum got the better of the Filipino prodigy to set an all-Thai final duel against compatriot Anchisa Chanta.
Eala beat Kumkhum in the final of W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand to rule the first leg last April. But the 28-year-old got back at Eala, nailing the timely hits in their close first set encounter that primed her up for a dominant second frame showing.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar had a strong start in the tournament, beating Phonephathep Philavong of Laos in the preliminary round on Tuesday and swept Malaysian Jo Leen Saw in the quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Eala won three bronze medals in her first SEA Games stint after also placing third in the women’s team play and mixed doubles.
Eala teamed up with men’s national star Treat Huey in the mixed competition, where they lost to Thailand’s Pruchya Isaro and Patcharin Cheapchandej in the semifinal on Thursday.