YOUNG Filipino tennis player Alex Eala has been having it solid in her debut W60 tournament in Bellinzona, Switzerland, hurdling her first two matches to book her spot in the Round of 16.
Rafa Nadal Academy scholar Eala defeated Romanian Laura-Ioana Paar in three sets (6-7, 6-1, 6-0) late Wednesday (early Thursday, Manila time) to keep her bid alive in the International Tennis Federation (ITF)-sanctioned event.
Fifteen-year-old Eala, ranked 715th in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), found herself in a tightly fought contest in the opening set, which lasted for over an hour.
She raced to an early 5-3 lead but had the rug pulled from under her by the 206th-ranked Paar, who dug deep and charged back to go up, 1-0, for the match.
In the succeeding rounds, however, Ms. Eala made sure she was on top of things, never letting her 32-year-old opponent to get it going to dominantly close out the proceedings.
“So happy to win my match today,” wrote the long-time Globe ambassador on her Facebook page following her victory.
Incidentally, Ms. Eala has had the number of Ms. Paar this year, having defeated the latter in their first encounter in the first round of the W25 Grenoble in Spain back in February. The Filipino won that match in three sets.
Ms. Eala was set to face hometown bet Simona Waltert in the Round of 16 later on Thursday.
The two already met twice this year, taking a game each.
In Bellinzona, Ms. Eala qualified as a junior exempt being the third-ranked juniors player in the world. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo