In a gripping showdown at the Tennis Club Petange in Luxembourg, the Philippines’ tennis sensation, Alex Eala, faced a formidable challenge in the final, securing the runner-up honors in the ITF W40 Kyotec Open on Sunday, November 19.
“I enjoyed every match this week, and am more than delighted to be going home with a trophy,” Eala said in her Facebook post.
Despite falling short in her comeback bid, Eala demonstrated resilience and fighting spirit, capping off an impressive year in her burgeoning career.
Eala, 18, encountered a powerhouse opponent in third-seeded Oceane Dodin of France, a former world No. 45 renowned for her dominating play across grand slam events.
The encounter proved to be a tough test for the Filipino netter from the outset, as Dodin’s power-hitting prowess allowed her to break Eala in the opening game, setting the tone for a dominant first set.
Dodin continued her control, breaking the Filipina twice more to claim the set 6-2.
The second set initially saw Dodin maintaining her momentum, swiftly establishing a 3-0 lead.
However, Eala showcased her tenacity and skill by mounting a spectacular comeback.
Breaking Dodin in the fifth and seventh games while holding her serve thrice, Eala surged ahead to a 5-3 lead. It seemed the young Filipina was on the verge of forcing a deciding third set, but Dodin, displaying her experience, found an extra gear.
In a sudden turn of events, Dodin rallied to level the score at 5-5, seizing the momentum again.
The French player’s determination proved decisive as she clinched the next two games, securing victory in one hour and 23 minutes.
Dodin’s triumph marked her second consecutive title on the ITF tour, following her recent success at the ITF Nantes in France.
Eala, despite the defeat, showcased her potential and growth on the professional circuit.
The young tennis prodigy had been vying for her first W40 level event championship, having previously secured one ITF W15 trophy and three ITF W25 titles in her budding professional career.
Though not the ending she had hoped for, the runner-up finish carried a silver lining for Eala. The tournament boosted her world ranking from 204th to 190th, reflecting her upward trajectory in the highly competitive world of professional tennis. As the season concludes, Eala can reflect on a fruitful year that has seen her make significant strides in her career, setting the stage for even greater achievements in the future.