Filipino tennis sensation and Globe Ambassador Alex Eala and Oksana Selekhmeteva are through to the semifinals of the doubles competition of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour W25 Platja D'Aro in Spain.
The Filipina and Russian tandem shocked the top-seeded pair of Sofya Lansere and Vlada Koval of Russia, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10 in the quarterfinals Thursday night.
The 16-year-old Eala and Selekhmeteva got off to a fast start in the opening set, racing to a 5-1 lead before Lansere and Koval managed to settle and take the next two games. Eala and Selekhmeteva, however, broke their foes in the next frame to take the set.
In the second set, Lansere and Koval showed why they are the tournament favorites by storming to a 5-0 lead before Eala and Selekhmeteva took the next two games to avoid a bagel. The top seeds, eventually, took the set and tied the game at one set apiece.
It was a tight match in the decider as the two teams battled each other for every point. Eala and Selekhmeteva jumped to a 6-2 lead but the Russians clawed back, saving three match points, to even the game at 9-9.
Eala and Selekhmeteva proved steadier when it counted most, bouncing back from a match point then taking the next two frames to boot the top seeds, 12-10.
The shocking win made up for Eala’s tough loss in the singles competition after she was beaten by local bet Irene Burillo Escorihuela of Spain in straight sets, 2-6, 4-6, in the second round.
Eala looked spry early in the match against the 23-year old Escorihuela—who is ranked no. 271 in the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings—as she surged in front in the first set, 2-0. However, Escorihuela suddenly took charge, breaking the Filipina youngster’s serve three times in the next six games to take the first set, 6-2.
The second set was played on even terms early on and was knotted at 3-3 when Escorihuela broke Eala’s serve and held her own to take a 5-3 lead. Eala was able to stave off defeat as she won the next game to close the gap at 4-5. But Escorihuela proved too skillful and strong as she blanked Eala in the next game to wrap up the second set, 6-4, and claim the victory.