Filipina tennis star and Globe ambassador Alex Eala made her way back to the semifinals of the French Open, only this time in the girls’ doubles tournament, as she teamed up with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva to defeat the fifth-seeded pair of Croatia’s Petra Marcinko and Hungary’s Natalia Szabanin, 7-6, 7-6, in a thrilling quarterfinal match on Thursday night (Philippine time) at the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France.
Eala and Selekhmeteva, who are the tournament’s top seeds, have so far been in a class of their own, having yet to drop a set in this competition. The Filipina-Russian pair, however, had to dig down deep against their opponents who rallied from a 2-5 deficit in the first set to take the upper hand, 6-5. Eala and Selekhmeteva, though, captured the 12th game to forge a tiebreak, which they later won, 9-7, to capture the first set, 7-6.
The second set featured more of Eala and Selekhmeteva’s early dominance as they zoomed off to a 3-0 lead before Marcinko and Szabanin got their bearings together and fought back to tie the set at 6-6 and force another tiebreaker. There, the brilliance of the 16-year old Filipina and the 18-year old Russian shone through as they pulled off a 7-5 win to wrap up the second set, 7-6, and the match, to book their ticket to the semis.
Waiting for them in the semis is the Italian tandem of Lisa Pigato and Eleonora Alvisi.
This marks the second time that Eala has made it to the semifinals of the Roland-Garros. Back in 2019, the then-15 year old made it to the Final Four of the girl’s singles tournament but eventually lost to Elsa Jacquemot, 6-3, 6-2.