By Adrian Stewart Co
Alex Eala recovered from a set down to beat Michaela Laki of Greece, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, in the 2021 US Open girls singles round-of-16 on Wednesday (Thursday in the Philippines) at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York City.
Eala struggled with her shots early before catching up to reach her first-ever US Open girls quarterfinals where she will face Sebastianna Scilipoti of Switzerland on Thursday night (Friday in the Philippines).
The Filipina netter started strong as she won the first two matches in the opening set but her Greek foe responded by taking the next five matches for a 5-2 advantage.
The No. 2 ranked Eala responded in the eighth and ninth games to cut the first set deficit to 4-5 but 15th seeded Laki went on to take the tenth game to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
Eala struggled anew early in the second set with Laki taking the advantage but the Filipina netter clawed her way back in the match to force a deadlock at 5-5.
Eala was able to hold her serve in the pivotal Game 11 to get some breathing room before finishing off Laki in the 12th game to send the match to a winner-take-all third set.
With momentum on her side, Eala displayed her efficient hitting as she took an early 5-2 advantage. Laki managed to cut the deficit to 5-4 but Eala ousted her opponent by winning the 10th game.
Eala managed to complete her domination of Laki in the US Open girls tournament as the Filipina also defeated the Greek netter at the round-of-16 of doubles event later in the day.
Eala and her Belgian partner Hanne Vandewinkel walloped Laki and her Serbian partner Radka Zelnickova, 6-3, 3-6, 10-6, to punch their ticket to the quarterfinals.
Holding to a slim 7-6 lead in third set, the Filipino-Belgian pair of Eala and Vandewinkel stepped on the gas to finish off their rivals as they scored three straight points.
Eala and Vandewinkel will face the survivor between the American pair of Elizabeth Coleman and Madison Sieg and the tandem of Petra Marcinnko of Croatia and Natalia Szavamin of Hungary./ASC, WDJ