Mayar Sherif of Egypt upset Alex Eala, the Filipino ace, 6-2, 6-2, in the Round of 16 of the Winners Open on Thursday in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, ending the Filipino ace’s first WTA tournament run.
Eala, 639th in the world, was a wildcard in the WTA 250 clay tournament. She has one ITF singles championship, while Sherif, who is ranked 119th in the world, has nine ITF singles titles.
After denying Eala break point opportunities in the fourth game, Sherif took a 3-1 lead in the first set. A double fault by the Filipino gave the Egyptian a 5-2 lead, and he served for the set, 6-2.
In the second set, Eala and Sherif were even at 2-2 until a double fault from the Filipino, who had a total of 8 double faults, gave the Egyptian a 3-2 lead.
Eala got a break point with Sherif serving for the set at 5-2, but Sherif saved it with an ace. Sherif won the match 6-2 with her sixth ace on match point.
Sherif defeated top seed and World No. 59 Alize Cornet of France 6-2, 6-4 in the first round, while Eala defeated 28-year-old qualifier and World No. 209 Paula Ormaechea of Argentina 7-5, 6-2 in the second round.
“As for Alex Eala, we will surely hear from her soon,” the Winners Open Facebook page said after Eala’s Round of 16 loss.
Years later, we will remember that her circuit debut and first career victory happened in Cluj,” it added.
In naming Eala as one of the tournament’s wildcard recipients, the Winners Open praised the Rafa Nadal scholar as “one of the most talented players of the new generation.”
Eala won a historic wildcard for the Miami Open qualifying draw last March, but she lost in three sets in the first round.
On the juniors’ side, the Juniors No. 2 and top Asian female junior has won girls’ doubles grand slam titles with Indonesian Priska Madelyn Nugroho at the 2020 Australian Open and Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva at Roland Garros in 2021.
Eala won the singles and doubles titles at the JA Milan 61° Trofeo Bonfiglio in Italy in July, making her second singles-doubles title sweep as a junior.