Tennis

History for PH as Alex Eala captures US Open girls’ singles crown

Delfin Dioquino
History for PH as Alex Eala captures US Open girls’ singles crown

BREAKTHROUGH. Alex Eala adds the US Open girls' singles trophy to her haul that includes two junior Grand Slam doubles titles.

Alex Eala Facebook page

Alex Eala becomes the first Filipino to win a junior Grand Slam singles title as she beats Lucie Havlickova of Czech Republic in the final of the US Open

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala has earned another piece of history.

Eala became the first Filipino to capture a junior Grand Slam singles crown as she toppled Lucie Havlickova, 6-2, 6-4, in the final of the US Open in New York on Saturday, September 10 (Sunday, September 11, Manila time).

History for PH as Alex Eala captures US Open girls’ singles crown

Continuing her stellar play in the tournament that saw her sweep all of her matches, the 10th seed Eala bested the second seed Czech to add another title to her haul that includes two junior Grand Slam doubles crowns.

“I think this is a huge step for me personally. I’m super happy to represent my country and do something of worth, with a big platform and being able to inspire other younger people,” Eala said.

The 17-year-old Eala trailed 1-2 in the opening set before she evened the score after coming out on top of a seesaw fourth game marked with five ties.

Eala then broke Havlickova in the fifth and seventh as she took the next four games to claim the set and gain control of the match.

The reigning junior French Open champion, Havlickova put up a fight and even seized a 4-3 lead in the second set thanks to a couple of Eala errors.

But Eala regained her bearings as she tied the set at 4-4, broke Havlickova again in the ninth for a 5-4 edge, and sealed the win in the 10th to wrap up the match in 1 hour and 8 minutes.

Coughing up 39 errors, Havlickova fired a backhand shot that landed in the net at match point as Eala roared in celebration along with Filipino fans in attendance at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.

Eala did not drop a set all tournament long, clinching wins over Australian eight seed Taylah Preston, Russian 14th seed Mirra Andreeva, and Canadian ninth seed Victoria Mboko.

“I think I played very well and was mentally stable, mentally strong,” said Eala.

With all the four Grand Slam tournaments finished for the year, Eala is expected to return to the professional circuit. – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.