Philippine tennis sensation Alex Eala bucked a sluggish start to beat veteran netter Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, and capture her very first professional title in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) W15 Manacor tournament in Mallorca, Spain on Sunday evening.
The youngest competitor at age 15, and the lowest seed in the tournament, Eala showed exceptional poise beyond her years as she shrugged off the opening set loss and relentlessly battered her seasoned opponent in the next two sets to come away as the champion.
The breakthrough victory gave Eala the $15,000 prize money. Making the feat even more impressive is the fact that this title victory comes in just Eala’s second year on the professional circuit after dominating the juniors scene.
Currently ranked third in the ITF junior rankings and 1651 in the singles rankings, Eala’s impressive performance is expected to give her a nice bump up the ladder. With her year off to a great start, Eala is slated to compete in more tournaments while she continues to sharpen her skills at the Rafael Nadal Academy where she has been a scholar since 2018.
Eala toppled several big names in the competition before clinching the title on Sunday. She kicked things off with a rousing 6-1, 6-2 straight sets win over fellow Rafael Nadal Academy scholar Anna Paradisi of Italy in the first round before coming up with a 6-4, 6-1 stunner over top-seeded Australian Seone Mendez in the second round.
She then gutted out a gritty 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over resilient French Carole Monnet in the quarterfinals and then, cruised past Adithya Karunaratne of Hong Kong, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals to set the stage for her title conquest against the 28-year old Cavalle-Reimers.(JNP)