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Alex Eala grinds out India W50 quarterfinal march

MANILA, Philippines, February 2 ------ There are no easy victories in the Indore ITF World Tennis Tour W50. This Alex Eala must have realized after she went through another tough match. Fortunately for the teen tennis star, she stepped up to the plate to prevail in three sets over Ekaterina Yashina of Russia, 7-6(1), 6-7(4), 6-0, to advance to the quarterfinals of the $40,000 match at the Indore Tennis Club in India. On the day that top seed Darja Semenistaja of Latvia was eliminated in straight sets by an unseeded foe, the third-seeded Eala escaped the upset axe in the second round despite another shaky service game which saw her commit 10 double faults.  


Eala was Semenistaja’s partner when the Filipina won her first pro doubles title in the ITF W50 Pune last week. Semenistaja, incidentally, downed Eala in the singles quarterfinal of the same tournament. The 18-year-old Eala’s superior conditioning proved to be the game-changer against Yashina, enabling the Filipina teen to power through in the third set where she blanked the Russian qualifier, 6-0. Eala, who struggled early before winning her first-round match, got off to another slow start, falling behind 2-4 in the opening frame.  


In a battle that had the two combatants breaking each other thrice each, Eala dug deep to send the set to a tiebreaker where she dominated, 7-1, to gain some headway in the match. Eala had the opportunity to put away her 30-year-old rival in the second set when she held match point in the 10th game. Yashina, however, would not concede and dominated the second-set tiebreaker by racing to a 6-2 lead.  


Eala narrowed the gap to 4-6, but that was the closest Yashina would allow her. The lopsided scoreline of the third set belied how tightly fought the match initially was as it lasted two hours and 39 minutes. Eala heads to another acid test in her bid for a semifinal spot against 19-year-old sixth seed Anca Alexia Todoni of Romania on Friday, February 2. 




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