FILIPINO tennis ace Alex Eala was impressive in her maiden $60,000 tournament, dispatching Margot Yerolymos of France in straight sets (7-6 (6), 6-2) on Tuesday night in Bellinzona, Switzerland.
Playing in her first W60 tournament, Ms. Eala, 15, started shaky in the opening set, going down 1-3 early, but found her footing as the match progressed, tying the count at 3-3, before holding tough the rest of the set to book the 1-0 lead.
Ms. Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy scholar and long-time Globe ambassador, then turned the tables on her opponent in the second set, racing to a 3-0 lead and never looked back after to finish the contest in two hours and two minutes.
While happy with the debut win, Ms. Eala shared it did come easy, made tougher by the elements.
“Tough play today with windy conditions, but happy to have won my first W60k match here in Bellinzona, Switzerland…” wrote the 715th Women’s Tennis Association-ranked player on a post over Facebook.
In the same post, 15-year-old Eala expressed her concern over the pandemic conditions in the Philippines and that she is praying “that everyone keeps safe.”
Next for Ms. Eala in Bellinzona is a familiar foe in 12th seed Laura Ioana Paar of Romania, who the Filipino was set face later on Wednesday.
The two have already clashed before, in the first round of the W25 Grenoble back in February where Ms. Eala won (6-3, 4-6, 6-4).
In Bellinzona, Ms. Eala qualified as a junior exempt being the third-ranked juniors player in the world. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo