Alex Eala secures at least bronze in Asian Games
HANGZHOU, China—Alex Eala stormed back from a set down and turned back Japan’s Kyoka Okamura, 0-6, 7-5, 6-0, to march into the semifinals of women’s tennis singles at the 19th Asian Games.
The 18-year-old fourth seed not only moved closer to the finals where a gold medal is equivalent to a ride to next year’s Paris Olympic, she’s likewise assured of a bronze medal in her maiden voyage in these Games.
It took Eala two hours and 27 minutes at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Tennis Centre to repulse the 11th-ranked Okamura, who seemed headed to pulling off an upset after blanking the rising Filipino star in the opening set.
Eala, rated No. 192 in the current International Tennis Federation rankings, got her bearings back in the second set before the 2022 US Open girls’ singles champion made short work of the Japanese on the way to victory.
For the first time in the tournament, Eala faces a higher-placed opponent in No. 1 seed Zheng Qinwen in the semifinals.
Zheng, rated 23rd in the world, booted out 10th seed Sohyun Park of South Korea, 7-6 (4), 6-0, in the other quarterfinal duel.
Qinwen advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open held in New York after upstaging Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur, last year’s runner-up.
Eala’s bronze matched the performance of Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino, who gave the country two bronze medals in 2006 Doha.