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Alex Eala advances in singles, falters in doubles at W60 Barcelona

August 4 ------ Following her early doubles exit, Alex Eala of the Philippines will seek to upset No. 2 seed Eva Lys of Germany in the second round of the W60 Barcelona tournament in Spain.

The three-time ITF singles champions have not met yet on the professional level, but the Filipino holds a 1-0 head-to-head edge over the German in the Juniors Tour. Eala, now 248th in the WTA Rankings, prevailed in their 2018 clash in Sanxenxo, Spain with a comeback display, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4.

Almost five years later, they will face off again on a Spanish outdoor hard court at UP Cornellà - TEC Carles Ferrer Salat. Eala, 18, reached the second round via a walkover from qualifier Diana Marcinkevica, 3-0, ret., with the Filipino overcoming eight deuces in the third game before her Latvian opponent retired. Lys, the 21-year-old World No. 150, fought off an upset scare from Spanish wildcard Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(5).

It was a different story for Eala in the doubles draw, where she and Emilie Lindh Gallagher of Great Britain lost in the opening round to third seeds Marcinkevica and Estelle Cascino of France, 6-4, 3-6, 3-10. Eala and Lindh Gallagher converted a crucial service break at 4-4 to serve for the set, and they saved three break points to claim the first set, 6-4. Marcinkevica and Cascino pulled away from 2-2 by holding serve to love, winning a break point caused by a double fault in the sixth game, and extending their lead to 5-2. The Latvian-French duo forced a super tiebreak by taking the second set, 6-3.

After the Filipino and Briton clinched the first point, Marcinkevica and Cascino stormed through the tiebreak by winning the next six points. Eala and Lindh Gallagher managed to hold serve twice, but Marcinkevica and Cascino quickly claimed the win, 10-3, to book a quarterfinals berth against the British pair of Madeleine Brooks and Holly Hutchinson. Just two weeks ago in another Spanish tilt in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Marcinkevica and Cascino defeated Eala and home bet Marina Bassols Ribera in the quarterfinals of the $100,000 ITF event, 5-7, 6-1, 9-11.

Eala, the reigning US Open Juniors winner, then posted her best W100 result as a semifinalist who fell in three sets to French third seed and eventual runner-up Jessika Ponchet. In a video interview with the W100 Vitoria-Gasteiz tournament, Eala expressed optimism about her game. “I think I improved many aspects of my tennis so I’m really confident that I will be able to do something good in the near future,” the Rafa Nadal Academy graduate said on the Araba World Tennis Tour Vitoria-Gasteiz YouTube channel.



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