MANILA, Philippines – Qualifiers have not been much of a problem for Alex Eala, who stormed past Germany's Fabienne Gettwart, 6-2, 6-0, to advance to the main draw of the W25 Joue Les Tours in France Monday (Tuesday, Manila time).
What unsettles Eala is her proneness to squander chances while closing out big matches.
But she hopes to rewrite the script this week, drawing inspiration from a pair of lopsided triumphs that lined her up against Jenny Lim, an alternate with a low 1591 WTA ranking, in the first round in the lower half of the 32-player main draw of the $25,000 event.
The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar's 62-minute demolition of Gettwart at the Tennis Club Jocondien’s Central court was a big follow-up to her equally imposing 6-0, 6-1 rout of Latvia’s Anna Ozerova Sunday, completing another cruise on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour qualifier in France.
This time, she hopes to go all the way to medal play and redeem herself from a couple of abbreviated stints in the main draw of the W60 Grenoble and W25 Macon where she took command with strong starts, only to fade out with wobbly finishes.
But while she is fancied to hurdle Lim with ease, Eala could be heading to a tough second round face-off with second seed Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia, who is pitted against Italy’s Cristiana Ferrando.
Against Gettwart, Eala fired three aces and handled her stint behind the service line quite well, making just one double fault. She went 17 of 25 in first service points won for a 68 percent clip and posted a 76 percent norm (13 of 17) on second service points won.
The 16-year-old lefty, who stayed aggressive all game, winning all but one six break points, closed out the opening set the way she started it — in shutout fashion.
She scored the first four points to hold serve, broke Gettwart in the fourth game then after surviving a challenge in the sixth off a deuce with an ace, she pounced on her rival’s sloppy play at serve to sweep all four points in the eighth.
Expecting a big comeback from Gettwart in the second frame, Eala found a token resistance instead, enabling to break her rival thrice.
The German had a chance to hold serve twice in the second game, but Eala fought back from 30-40 down and forced two deuces before prevailing. It was cruise control from there with Eala dropping just five points the rest of the way while pumping in 15 points of her own to annex the trouble-free win.
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