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MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala broke through and captured her first title of the year after sweeping Switzerland’s Valentina Ryser, 6-3, 7-5, in the final of the W25 Yecla in Murcia, Spain, on Sunday, June 4.
Less than two weeks since turning 18, Eala claimed her third professional International Tennis Federation crown as she displayed poise and resolve in the $25,000 tournament where she lived up to the billing as the second seed.
The Filipina added the W25 Yecla trophy to her growing collection of professional titles that includes the W15 Manacor in Spain in January 2021 and the W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand in April 2022.
After coasting in the opening set, Eala faced a gutsy challenge from Ryser as the Swiss broke the Filipina in the 10th game of the second set to forge a 5-5 tie with hopes of extending the match.
But Eala returned the favor, breaking Ryser – who is four years older – in the ensuing game to regain the upper hand then held serve in the 12th game to wrap up the duel in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Eala, who endured multiple disappointing tournament exits earlier this year, emerged as the last woman standing this time around.
She edged Great Britain’s Katy Dunne and France’s Nahia Berecoechea in the first two rounds then went on to dispatch Mexico’s Victoria Rodriguez and Argentina’s Lucia Peyre in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
It was a gratifying victory for Eala, who had failed to make it past the second round in all of her first eight tournaments to start the year before she barged into the quarterfinals of the W25 Monastir in Tunisia a week ago.
Eala got the boot in the qualifying draw of the Australian Open in January and suffered first-round eliminations in the Miami Open in March and the Madrid Open in April. – Rappler.com