Alex Eala has been hopping from junior to pro events with seeming ease the past months. But on Wednesday, the Filipino teen was forced into a misstep by a veteran from Spain.
The 16-year-old Eala blew a one-set lead and bowed to fifth-seeded Spaniard Andrea Lazaro-Garcia, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4, in the opening round of the W25 Madrid in Spain.
Eala struggled with her serves, committing 11 doubles faults against six by the 26-year-old Garcia.
In the capital city while waiting for her visa to get to the United Kingdom, Eala was coming off a triumphant stint in the girls doubles of the French Open just a few days ago.
But she failed to make key adjustments against Garcia, who is ranked No. 272 in the world. After the first nine games went to serve, the Spaniard finally found a way to break right on match-point to seal the win.
Garcia will face the winner between Victoria Morvayova of Slovakia and Lina Gjorcheska of North Macedonia in the next round.
Eala, the world No. 624, hopes to sharpen her game before flying to Roehampton for a Grade 1 junior tournament which is a tune-up for Wimbledon.
Last week, Eala won French Open girls doubles with Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia.
Eala and partner Victoria Jimenez-Kasintseva of Andorra had earlier barged into the women’s doubles quarterfinals with a 6-3, 7-6 (3) upset win over American Robin Anderson and Bulgaria Isabella Shinikova.
They will take on Ashley Lahey of the United States and Olivia Tjandramulia of Australia. INQ
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