THE spirited run at the W25 Platja D’Aro tournament in Spain of doubles partners Alex Eala of the Philippines and Oksana Selekhmeteva concluded with a runner-up finish on Saturday (Manila time).
The Eala-Selekhmeteva tandem lost to Justina Mikulskyte and Oana Georgeta Simion, 3-6, 5-7, in the women’s doubles final, which marked the Filipino tennis sensation’s first trip to a professional doubles championship match.
Mses. Eala and Selekhmeteva dug themselves in a deep hole in the opening set, going 1-5 down and never recovered from it.
In the second set, they performed far better, standing toe-to-toe with their Lithuanian-Romanian team opponent.
The Filipino-Russian duo tried hard to extend the contest to a deciding third set but Mses. Mikulskyte and Simion were not to be denied as they took advantage of every opportunity they could get, including racking up three straight points to overhaul a 40-15 deficit in the final game, en route to closing out the contest for the win.
Despite falling short, Ms. Eala, who just turned 16 years old, was still grateful for the solid run they had in the doubles tournament and the opprotunity to further develop her game as a professional.
“Happy to earn my first pro doubles finalist trophy,” Rafa Nadal Academy scholar and long-time Globe ambassador Eala wrote in a post on her Facebook page. “Thanks to my partner, Oksana!”
In the W25 Platja D’Aro doubles tournament, Mses. Eala and Selekhmeteva defeated Valeria Koussenkova of Spain and Warona Mdlulwa of South Africa, 6-2, 6-0, in the opening round then beat the Russian duo of Vlada Koval and Sofya Lansere, 6-3, 2-6, 12-10, in the quarterfinals. They dominated the Dutch tandem of Isabelle Haverlag and Suzan Lamens, 6-3, 6-1, in the semifinals.
Next for Ms. Eala, the number three-ranked juniors player in the world, is the French Open juniors tournament in June. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo