Eala sustains steely display in France

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    SHOWING nerves of steel, Alex Eala slipped past upset-conscious Mara Guth of Germany 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 last Monday to reach the third round of the girls singles of the French Open juniors tournament at the famed Roland Garros Stadium in Paris, France.

    Seeded No. 2, Eala, 15, fought back from a 0-4 deficit in the third and final set behind a steady first serve to emerge victorious after two hours and 12 minutes of play.

    A winner in the girls doubles with Indon Priska Nugroho in the Australian Open juniors finals last January, the comely Pinay netter went into the match fresh from a 6-4, 6-1 conquest of Hungarian Natalia Zhabanin in the opening round last Sunday.

    Eala will be up next against Spain’s Leyra Romero Gormaz, who beat Russia’s Diana Shnaider 6-3, 7-5 in the previous round, in the round-of-16 today.

    Eala was seeded No. 3 in girls doubles with American Elena Kalieva. They faced the Italian pair of Eleonora Alvisi and Lisa Pigato in the opening round last night.

    With the third and final set deadlocked at 4-all, the turning point came when Eala held serve in the ninth game before storming to a 0-40 lead in the next on the way to breaking Guth and sealing the win.

    Statistics furnished by rolandgarros.com showed that Eala, who trains at the academy of 12-time and defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, connected on 26 of her 29 first serves for a 90 percent clip in the last set compared to Guth’s 74 percent ( 23-31).

    She also won most of her points or 62 percent in the third set (16-26) in contrast to Guth’s 52 percent (12-23).