By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala kicked off her 2024 with a bang after bagging her first women’s doubles championship title of the year during the International Tennis Federation (ITF) W50 Pune tournament in India last January 27, 2024.
Entering the grand finals as the huge underdogs against the tournament top seeds, Eala and her Latvian partner Darja Semenistaja weathered the storm to sweep Fanny Stollar and Naiktha Bains- 7.6, 6.3-.
A back-and-forth tennis action opened the W50 Pune women’s championship round as the pairing of Eala and Semenistaja duked it out against Stollar and Bains.
Despite the heavy pressure deployed by the no. 1 seeds, Eala and the Latvian ace remained unfazed and countered with their own aggressiveness in the baseline.
There was nothing that the opponents could do once Eala already got her hitting rhythm in her forehand stroke matched with Semenistaja’s quick reaction in the net.
As the first set reached a tiebreak, Eala and Semenistaja looked to secure the set with a win after racing to a 4-2 advantage.
However, Stollar’s crucial defense saved them two points and helped turn things around when they stole the lead away, 5-6.
Just when the Stollar and Bains thought they could score the comeback win with a blitz in the net, Eala and Semenistaja threw two perfect lobs that disrupted their smashing angle.
From a 7-8 deficit, Eala’s strong forehand down the line and Semenistaja’s back-to-back points sparked their 3-0 run to grab the early lead, 1-0.
It was then all Eala and Semenistaja as the duo completely took full control of the match and capitalized their momentum from their intense first-set win.
Before taking on the no. 1 seed, Eala and Semenistaja first took care of their business against the Japanese tandem of Saki Imamura and Naho Sato- 7.6, 6.3-.