HANGZHOU, China – Tennis Alex Eala survived a marathon first set to beat veteran Rutuja Bhosale of India, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, and advanced to the quarters of the women’s singles event in the 19th Asian Games at Olympic Sports Stadium here.
Eala, 18, needed 72 minutes and a tiebreaker to outlast her 27-year-old rival in a tightly contested first set that thrilled a small but highly energized crowd.
But it was a breeze in the second set for Eala to earn a quarterfinal meeting with Japanese Kyoka Okamura, a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 winner over Savanna Ly-Nguyen.
On paper, Eala holds a slight edge over her Japanese rival owing to her better ranking at No. 192, while Okamura is ranked 223rd. Apart from that, Eala also boasts four ITF titles against only Round-of-8 rival.
Eala struggled with her serves early, committing five doubles against only three aces.
In the second set, she double-faulted only twice as she started to dominate the match, coming through whistling shots behind her double-fisted shots.
Eala advanced to the round-of-16 in style, blanking Sarah Ibrahim Khan of Pakistan, 6-0, 6-0.
Eala will also play in mixed doubles with Ruben Gonzales later in the day. PR