Eala nears French Open main draw

Joey Villar - The Philippine Star
Eala nears French Open main draw
Alex Eala.
Facebook / Alex Eala

MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala knows the enormity of what she is about to accomplish – a feat that would change Philippine tennis forever.

So when she trailed by a set and then 2-4 in the decider, the 18-year-old product of the Rafael Nadal Academy in Spain didn’t blink an eye and summoned everything she had to pull off perhaps one of the sweetest victories of her life.

It came in a gritty, pulse-pounding 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory over world No. 137 and 30th seed Taylah Preston of Australia in the French Open women’s singles qualifier last night.

The victory put Eala on the cusp of a date with destiny – to become the first homegrown Filipina to make a Grand Slam main draw.

Eala, who booted out Chinese Ma Ye-Xin, 6-1, 6-1, the round before, however, needs to hurdle one last barrier to etch her name in the record books.

And that one step would be to beat Argentina’s Julia Riera, ranked 93rd in the world, who turned back France’s Harmony Tan, 6-3, 6-2, in a showdown where Eala is expected to once again give it her all.

Already, Eala has made heads turn with her girls’ doubles title three years ago alongside Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva and, recently, a maiden WTA 1000 triumph in Madrid that showed she had made significant strides.

But, of course, nothing compares to making the main draw of the French Open.

That’s what Eala is trying to accomplish.               

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