Alex Eala overpowers Hong Kong semis foe, headed into first pro finals berth
Alex Eala
Julien Crosnier / FFT

Alex Eala overpowers Hong Kong semis foe, headed into first pro finals berth

John Bryan Ulanday (Philstar.com) - January 23, 2021 - 8:28pm

MANILA, Philippines — Rampaging Filipina tennis ace Alex Eala rolled past Hong Kong’s Adithya Karunaratne, 6-3, 6-4, to book her first pro-career finals ticket in the W15 Manacor ITF Pro Tournament by the Rafael Nadal Academy last night in Spain.

Buoyed by three straight victories in the earlier rounds, the 15-year-old wunderkind sustained her fine form with a dominant opening set win before dousing cold water on Karunaratne’s fiery rally in the second frame to seal the massive semifinals victory.

She will shoot for all the marbles against hometown pride Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers of Spain following her fellow easy 6-4, 6-2, victory against France’s Leolia Jeanjean.

“Sweet 15! At just 15 years old, Alex has qualified for her first ITF finals. Great game!,” posted the Spanish legend Nadal’s academy, where Eala trains and studies as a scholar. 

Ranked third in the ITF Juniors prior to the tourney, Eala eked out a gritty 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over French Carole Monnet in the quarterfinals early Saturday morning to barge into the Final Four.

She previously cruised past Italy’s Ana Paradisi (6-1, 6-2) in the Round of 16 before scoring a stunning quarterfinal upset against tournament no.1 seed and ITF women’s singles no.2 player Seone Mendez (6-4, 6-2) of Australia.

This is Eala’s first event this year following an illustrious 2020 highlighted by a juniors doubles crown in the Australian Open, which she captured with Indonesian teammate Priska Madelyn Nugroho.

She also made it to the semi-finals of the elite French Open late last year, becoming the first-ever Filipina to achieve such feat.

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