Filipino tennis ace Alex Eala and Russian doubles partner Oksana Selekhmeteva are through to the semifinals of the 2021 French Open girls’ doubles tournament.
The duo survived the tough challenge put up by the pair of Croatia’s Petra Marcinko and Hungary’s Natalia Szabanin in their quarterfinal joust, holding on to win, 7-6, 7-6, on Thursday (Manila time) at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France.
Misses Eala and Selekhmeteva, who are the tournament’s top seeds, needed to regroup late in the opening set after their opponents rallied from a 2-5 deficit and took the upper hand, 6-5. They dug deep to level the count in the 12th game before completing the first-set salvage job.
In the second set, the Filipino-Russian duo got off to another strong start, racing to a 3-0 lead. But Misses Marcinko and Szabanin charged back anew to level the count at 6-6 and force a tiebreaker. Like what they did in the opener, however, the Eala- Selekhmeteva team held steady to wrap up the set and claim the match that sent it to the semifinals.
In the semis, Misses Eala and Selekhmeteva take on the Italian duo of Lisa Pigato and Eleonora Alvisi in a match set for later on Friday.
In the 2021 French Open girls’ doubles tournament, Ms. Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy scholar and long-time Globe ambassador, is looking to win her second doubles title in a Grand Slam event. She and Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho won the 2020 Australian Open title. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo