By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala will no longer see action in the ongoing Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 250 Thailand Open after suffering a first-round loss last January 31, 2023.
Eala faced the veteran Tatjana Maria from Germany and received a sweeping 6-2, 6-2 defeat held at the True Arena Hua Hin in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.
No matter what adjustments Eala did, the more experienced German ace found all holes in the Filipina’s performance and capitalized on her unforced errors.
Eala immediately faced big stage jitters after piling up untimely double faults in her service possessions that rewarded Maria easy points in the first set.
Her unfortunate double faults put her in early trouble while giving Maria momentum in the first 10 minutes of action.
The German stuck to her game plan and kept Eala guessing most of the time, displaying her wide array of offensive setups midway through the opening set.
Despite Eala’s consistent baseline game that featured her signature power forehand strokes, Maria was able to counter her tendencies and perfectly closed the gap in the last two points after locking the net area.
Eala and her camp tried to revise their plan and opted to play safe, engaging Maria in different rallies to kick off the second set.
However, Maria was still patient with her offense and waited several times to throw a short drop ball, helping her win the long exchanges of rallies.
Eala had one last hoorah when she scored back-to-back explosive baseline winners but Maria retook momentum when she seized full control of the match.
The uprising Filipina star will look to go back to the drawing board and will prepare for the next set of WTA tournaments including some short stops in the ITF circuit.