This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala returns to the Australian Open with hopes of having a deeper run.
Eala kicks off her campaign in the opening Grand Slam tournament of the year against Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in the first round of the women’s singles qualifying draw at the Melbourne Park on Tuesday, January 9.
Entering her fourth year in the professional circuit, the Filipina tennis ace seeks to advance to the next round after suffering an early exit in the Australian Open last year.
The 18-year-old Eala made her professional Grand Slam debut in the Australian Open last year, but she blew a sizable lead against Japan’s Misaki Doi in the first qualifying round.
Standing in the way of Eala this time is 28-year-old Peterson, who notched a career-high ranking of No. 43 and reached at least the second round in each of the four Grand Slams.
Currently ranked No. 128, Peterson advanced to the second round of the Australian Open in 2019 and 2022.
Eala improved to a career-high No. 185 in the latest world rankings released on January 1 after a stellar 2023 campaign that saw her win two ITF titles and a pair of bronze medals in the Asian Games.
She warmed up for the Australian Open by joining the Canberra International, where she and Brazil’s Laura Pigossi reached the doubles semifinals.
If Eala beats Peterson, she needs two more wins to qualify for the main draw. – Rappler.com