Eala loses steam vs Argentine foe, falls short of French Open main draw

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Eala loses steam vs Argentine foe, falls short of French Open main draw
Alex Eala
Facebook / Alex Eala

MANILA, Philippines -- Almost, but not quite.

Filipina tennis ace Alex Eala came up short in making history after running out of gas against Argentina’s Julia Riera, 6-4, 6(3)-7, 4-6, at the final round of the French Open qualifiers Thursday evening (Manila time.)

It was a bittersweet birthday for the 19-year-old Filipina, who pushed the World No. 93 tennister and the second-seed in the qualifiers to the limit in a gutsy display.

The World No. 160 player climbed back from a 0-4 start in the first set and blanked Riera in the next games to grab a huge come-from-behind win, 6-4.

The second set became a nip-and-tuck before the 21-year-old came within a game from tying the match, 5-3.

Back-to-back games then went to the resilient Eala, who dug deep to force the extended second set.

In the tiebreak, however, Riera asserted her might and muscled her way to the third set.

And in the final set, Eala tied it up at 4-4. The Argentine, though, would withstand her opponent to punch her ticket to the main draw.

A win for the Asian Games bronze medalist would have made her the first Filipina to make the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament.

Eala overcame two hurdles to go within a win before the main draw of the tourney.

She first defeated China’s YeXin Ma, 6-1, 6-1, then came from behind and blasted World No. 137 Taylah Preston of Australia, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5.

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