MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala’s meteoric rise continues.
The 17-year-old Eala jumped to 252nd in the latest Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) world ranking to crash into the top five of the all-time highest ranked Filipino tennis players in the Open era.
Before her latest big jump in the rankings, Eala already became the highest ranked female tennis player from the Philippines when she reached 280th last August, a feat that broke the 23-year-old record held by Maricris Fernandez-Gentz.
Fernandez-Gentz had been the highest ranked Filipina in history at 284th in the world.
At 252, Eala is now the fourth-highest ranked Filipino tennis player in the Open era, just behind former Philippine men’’s tennis team standouts Cecil Mamiit, Eric Taino, and Felix Barrientos.
Mamiit holds the record as he reached a career-best 72nd in the ATP rankings in 1999 after reaching the second round of the Australian Open and the US Open.
Taino, the 1992 US Open boys doubles champion, reached 122nd in the world in 2003; while Barrientos peaked at 180th in 1991.
Eala, the reigning US Open girls singles champion, also remains the highest seeded Southeast Asian in the world.
Thailand’s 29-year-old Peangtarn Plipuech ranks next to Eala in the region at 342nd.
The 5-foot-9 Eala likewise crashed the top 20 in Asia at No. 19 in the rankings.
Just last March, Eala was only ranked 572nd in the world. She jumped 161 spots a month later, rising to 411th after she bagged her second pro title in a W25 event in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
By the end of May, Eala was already 394th in the world. Her latest leap came after she reached the quarterfinal of the W80 RSF Pro Open at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club in the United States last week.