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.
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 quarterfinals 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 of four ITF titles against only Round-of-8 rival.
Eala struggled with her serves early, committing 5 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 is also scheduled to play in mixed doubles with Ruben Gonzales later in the day.