MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala made history with her maiden juniors Grand Slam title with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho in the 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles tournament on Friday, January 31 in Melbourne Park.
Eala and Nugroho swept the European duo of Slovenia’s Ziva Falkner and Britain’s Matilda Mutavdzic, 6-1, 6-2, to win the championship.
This is the Southeast Asian powerhouse tandem’s sixth doubles title since they teamed up in 2017.
The 14-year-old Eala is the first Filipino to win a juniors Grand Slam since 2009 when Francis Casey Alcantara also captured the Australian Open boys doubles title with Hsieh Cheng-peng of Chinese Taipei.
Fresh from upsetting the top-ranked pair of Latvia’s Kamila Bartone and Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova, Eala and Nugroho rode on their winning momentum as they cruised to a 5-0 lead in the opening set.
Falker and Mutavdzic were able to fight back due to the Southeast Asians’ unforced errors, but the winning pair managed to bounce back and take the 1-0 lead in the match.
As the Europeans started to build on a momentum, Eala and Nugroho closed out the match with 3 straight games.
Both Eala and Nugroho redeemed themselves from their singles exit in the 3rd round on Wednesday, January 29.
Still, Eala recorded her best singles finish in a junior Grand Slam by reaching the 3rd round.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar qualified for the main draw of the 2020 Australian Open juniors tournament via wildcard as she notched a world No. 9 ranking in the juniors circuit at the start of the year.
Eala continues to work toward a top 5 juniors ranking that will merit her a wildcard to the women’s tournaments. – Rappler.com