The first month of the year 2023 proved to be unwelcoming for Alex Eala.

Competing in her third tournament of the year, the Filipino ace netter once again exited early after she yielded to German Tatjana Maria in straight sets, 2-6, 2-6, in the WTA Thailand Open at the True Arena Hua Hin on Tuesday.

Maria's veteran smarts proved to be too much for the 17-year-old Eala as the 35-year-old German took advantage of the Filipino's faulty service game to take control of the match.

Tied at two games won each in the first set, Maria, who reached last year's women's singles semifinals in the Wimbledon, broke Eala's serve in the fifth game to seize a 3-2 lead and dictated the match from thereon out.

Ranked 63rd in the world, Maria went on to win the first set and carried that momentum in the second where she zoomed to a commanding 5-1 lead.

World no. 17 Eala could not recover from such a hole as Maria won the match and advanced to the second round of the tournament.

This is Eala's third early exit this new year.

She started 2023 with a second round loss in the W60 Canberra qualifiers and was shown the door early anew after a first round defeat in the Australian Open qualifiers.

2023-01-31T17:40:24Z dg43tfdfdgfd