ALEX Eala crashed out early in her return to the Miami Open, absorbing a 6-2, 7-5 defeat against seasoned counterpart Irina Camelia Begu of Romania in the Round of 128 late Tuesday night at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Ms. Eala, 17, shrugged a first-set loss by leading big in the second before faltering late to get another boot in her third straight stint in the Miami Open featuring world No. 1 and reigning champion Iga Swiatek of Poland.

The lefty wunderkind started on a wrong foot but went on a searing 5-1 revenge in the next frame only to surrender the last six games as the world No. 34 Ms. Begu stamped her veteran pedigree.

The 32-year-old Ms. Begu, who took care of Ms. Eala in one hour and 50 minutes, will face Qinwen Zheng of China in the next round due to a bye as the No. 23 seed.

Ms. Eala qualified in the Miami Open, a WTA 1000 tourney, as a wildcard.

A scholar of the Rafael Nadal Academy, Ms. Eala is set to brace for qualification into the prestigious French Open in May.

Also in line for Ms. Eala is the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia slated in the same month though she had previously said that her availability is still uncertain due to the expected schedule conflict with the French Open qualifiers.

Ms. Eala, WTA No. 219, boasts two juniors doubles titles (Australian Open and French Open) and one singles Grand Slam in the women’s pro circuit on top of three bronze medals in her SEA Games debut last year in Vietnam. —  John Bryan Ulanday