Alex Eala squanders early lead, crashes out of 2023 Australian Open

Alex Eala couldn’t hold on to her early lead and fumbled in the last two sets (

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

It seemed like the women’s professional Grand Slam stage is still a different horizon for Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala.

After dominating in the juniors and the ATP circuits a year ago, the 17-year-old tennis superstar was bound for a stunning debut in the 2023 Australian Open women’s division but failed to sustain her momentum in the last two sets against Misaki Doi of Japan, 4-6, 7-6, 6-3, last January 9, 2023.

Eala was poised for a sweeping debut in the first Grand Slam tournament of the year after grabbing the first set, 6-4.

The left-handed superstar was then one set away from pulling off the incredible win after taking a 5-2 lead in the second set but an unfortunate turn of events stunned the Filipina’s camp when the Japanese veteran flipped the switch and banked on her veteran expertise in the whole stretch of the match.

After Eala scored a down-the-line point right after taking the 5-2 lead, Doi changed her whole approach to the game and tired the Filipina out with her tremendous court control.

Doi carried her court mastery until the last set, making Eala circle around the court with her well-calculated drop shots while using the lob shot to perfection.

Eala began to show some fight in the third and last set but Doi never gave her any room to build momentum once again.

The Japanese star countered Eala’s power game with her calmness and wise tactics which completed her masterclass of picking the young Filipina apart.

Doi was once a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) no. 30 ranked player of the world and proved she is still one of the elite players in the pro women’s circuit after that jaw-dropping bounce back against Eala.

On the other hand, Eala will go back to the drawing board and will seek to redeem herself in the upcoming W250 Thailand Open on January 30, 2023.