FILIPINO netter Alex Eala’s drive at the 2020 French Open Juniors’ Grand Slam Tournament hit a speed bump late Tuesday night (Manila time) as she suffered defeat in doubles play.

Teamed up with Elvina Kalieva of the United States, the duo, seeded third in the tournament, found the going tough in its first-round encounter against the Italian team of Eleonora Alvisi and Lisa Pigato, eventually bowing down, 7-5, 2-6 and 1-0 (10-7) for the early exit.

The Italians had a strong start to the opening set before Eala and Kalieva managed to move their way back to the contest, knotting the score at 5-5.

But Alvisi and Pigato would hold on to book the set and take a 1-0 match lead.

In the second set, the Filipino-American team competed on firmer footing right from the start, racing to a 5-1 lead and never looking back to level the match.

The deciding set saw the teams competing hard, but the Italians picked it up late in the tiebreaker to close things out for the upset victory.

But despite the loss, Rafa Nadal Academy scholar Eala is still in the mix in singles play and was set to play Spain’s Leyre Romero Gormaz in third-round action late on Wednesday.

Early this year Eala won the 2020 Australian Open juniors’ double events with partner Priska Nugroho of Indonesia . She was looking forward to building on it right away, but the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent postponement of events did not allow her to. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo