ALEX Eala fell short of another pro title that could have ended her season with a bang after a runner-up finish to French bet Oceane Dodin, 6-1, 7-5, in the W40 Petange finals over the weekend in Luxembourg.
It’s Eala’s final tourney for the year and she had a stellar run until the finale, where she just ran out of steam against the much more seasoned foe in Ms. Dodin, the No. 3 seed with 18 pro titles to show.
The 18-year-old Ms. Eala absorbed a near shutout in the opening salvo and even a stronger outing in the second set could not propel her to a deciding match against the 27-year-old and Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) No. 93 opponent.
Ms. Eala, WTA No. 190 and tournament No. 9 seed, even took a 5-3 lead in the second set for a potential rubber only to drop the next four games to Ms. Dodin, who did not yield a single set for a marvelous run en route to her 19th crown.
Still, Ms. Eala achieved a commendable campaign highlighted by a thrilling 7-5, 4-6, 6-2 win over No. 4 seed Anna-Lena Friedsam of Germany in the semifinals.
She also beat another German bet in Angelina Wirges, 6-3, 6-2, Denmark’s Johanne Christine Svendsen, 6-3, 6-1, and Jasmijn Gimbrere, 6-3, 6-2, of the Netherlands in the previous rounds.
Ms. Eala had a banner outing this season marked by two pro titles in the W25 Roehampton in England and W25 Yecla in Spain, including a bevy of semifinal and final appearances in different tournaments worldwide.
The Filipina tennis wunderkind also captured two bronze medals to snap the country’s 17-year medal drought in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. — John Bryan Ulanday