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Eala pulls off big comeback, assures PH of bronze medal at Asiad

Alex Eala of the Philippines [PSC-POC photo]
Alex Eala of the Philippines [PSC-POC photo]

Alex Eala of the Philippines pulled off one of the biggest comeback wins in tennis history of the Asian Games with a 0-6, 7-5, 6-0 win over Kyoka Okamura of Japan on Wednesday, Sept. 27. This assures Team PH of another bronze medal at the Olympic Tennis Centre.

Eala, seeded No. 4, looked like a beginner in the first set as she committed numerous turnovers – some were basic mistakes – not to mention Okamora’s solid game from the baseline.

She even lost her first serve in the second, giving Okamura a 2-0 lead.

Good thing, Eala found her second win and rallied furiously to win the second set which proved enough to take the fight out of her Japanese rival.

The third set was a different story as it was Eala who dictated the tempo on the way to posting another win that could go down as one of the highlights of a flourishing career.

The victory arranged the 18-year-old Filipina sensation a semis date with top seed Zheng Qinwen of China, who survived a close opening set to beat Park Sohyn of South Korea, 7-6 (4), 6-0.

Qinwen is the very same who made it to the quarters of the US Open in New York after beating last year’s runner up Ons Jabeur of Tunisia.

While Eala is ranked No. 192, the Chinese top seed is rated No. 23 in the latest ITF rankings.

The last time a country won a medal in the continental showpiece was 17 years ago – courtesy of Cecil Mamiit and Eric Taino won two bronze medals in the Doha edition.

Her job is not yet done for the day as she and Francis Casey Alcantara are scheduled to battle top seed Yuki Bhambri and Ankita Ravinderkrishan Raina of India in the third round of the mixed doubles event later in the afternoon.

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