By NIKOLE JAVIER
Alex Eala couldn’t make it past sixth seed Tatjana Maria of Germany and absorbed a lopsided 2-6, 2-6 loss in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 250 Thailand Open on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the True Arena in Hua Hin.
Maria only needed 69 minutes to dispose of the reigning US Open Girls champion in their Round of 32 match and advance to the quarterfinals of the $250,000 tournament.
The 35-year-old German, who has appeared in last year’s Wimbledon semifinals, hardly broke a sweat against the 17-year-old Filipina.
Maria cruised to an early 4-2 lead over Eala in the opening set which was enough to show the latter’s youth in their affair.
Before Eala could remedy the first-set beating, the 63rd-ranked Maria soared to a 5-1 advantage.
The teen ace eventually broke serve in the seventh game but Maria’s experience would propel her to the straight-set victory.
Ranked 217th in the world, Eala had to hurdle the two-round qualifier to reach the main draw of the tournament — her first two victories of the year after crashing out in the 2023 Australia Open.
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