Eala-Cascino tandem wins W75 Croissy-Beaubourg in France


ALEX EALA added another diadem to her growing treasure chest by winning her second professional doubles crown in France.

Linking up with home bet Estelle Cascino, the Filipina-French duo pulled off a stunning 7-5, 7-6(4) upset of the No. 1 seed pair of Maia Lumsden from Great Britain and another local ace Jessika Ponchet over the weekend to win the W75 Croissy-Beaubourg in France.

Ms. Eala and Ms. Cascino waxed hot early by erecting big leads — a 3-0 blitz in the first then a 2-0 gap in the second — but the fancied Ms. Lumsden, WTA No. 77, and Ms. Ponchet, WTA No. 142, retaliated to make it a ball game before the former pulled through in one hour and 31 minutes.

The Filipina-French pair, unseeded in the tournament, stared at similar 4-5 deficits in both sets only to carve out gritty escape acts, especially in the tiebreaker of the second frame for the hard-earned straight-sets finale triumph.

The 18-year-old Ms. Eala is ranked No. 171 in the Women’s Tennis Sensation (WTA) while Ms. Cascino, 28, is at No. 146, but that did not stop them from claiming the scalp of their higher-ranked and more seasoned opponents in the prestigious $75,000 tourney.

Ms. Eala and Ms. Cascino, previously ousted Switzerland’s Celina Naef and India’s Prarthana Thombare, 5-7, 6-2, 10-6, in the opening round, the No. 2 duo of Great Britain’s Emily Appleton, the Netherlands’ Isabelle Haverlag, 6-4, 6-0, in the quarterfinals, and Russian Kira Pavlova and Luxembourg’s Marie Weckerle, 6-3, 6-3, in the semifinals.

Ms. Eala captured her first doubles crown last January with Latvian partner Darja Semenistaja in the W50 Pune in India to shore up her promising career already marked by four singles titles.

The Filipina sensation is also a holder of two junior doubles Grand Slams in the 2020 Australian Open, with Indonesian pal Priska Madelyn Nugroho, and the 2021 French Open, with Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva, as well as the elusive junior singles Grand Slam in the 2022 US Open. — John Bryan Ulanday