Alex Eala’s debut at Wimbledon did not go the way she wanted it to as she and partner Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia got clipped by the pair of Swiss netter Chelsea Fontenel and American Ashlyn Krueger, 4-6, 6-4, 11-9 in the second round of the girls’ doubles tournament at the All England Club in London on early Friday morning (Philippine time).
The loss ended what was a gloomy day for the 16-year old Filipina tennis star as she also lost to Spanish rival Ane Mintegi del Olmo, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, in the second round of the girls’ singles competition earlier.
The Fontenel-Krueger duo got the jump on Eala and Nugroho as they broke the latter’s serve and held their own to go up 2-0. They continued to lead at 4-2 but the Eala-Nugroho pair pulled to 5-4 after a masterful ninth game. However, Fontenel and Krueger were not to be denied as they took the next game to close out the first set, 6-4.
The second set was played just as fiercely as the two teams exchanged breaks in the seventh and eighth game to stay tied at 4-4. Eala and Nugroho then held their serve and broke Fontenel and Krueger’s serve in the 10th game to win the second set, 6-4, and send the match to a tiebreaker.
In the third, the Fontenel-Krueger sent Eala and Nugroho to the brink of elimination as they led, 6-3. However, the Filipina and Indonesian showed incredible perseverance and battled back to tie the game at 6-6. Eala and Nugroho even had a shot at nabbing the win as they momentarily led at 8-7 but Fontenel and Krueger were just too good on this day as they won four of the next six points to pull off the thrilling victory.
Eala and Nugroho, who were seeded third in Wimbledon, had previously reaped success at the 2020 Australian Open where they won the girls’ doubles championship. However, they just could not recapture the magic from that tournament, leading to their early exit. (JNP)