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MANILA, Philippines – Playing her last pro circuit tournament this season before calling it a year, Alex Eala made sure to make it count by getting off to a promising start.
Seeded ninth in the ITF W40 Kyotec Open, Eala made short work of qualifier Angelina Wirges of Germany, 6-3, 6-2, on Tuesday, November 14 (Wednesday, November 15, Philippine time) to advance to the round of 16 at the Tennis Club Petange in Luxembourg.
The 18-year-old Eala converted on her only break point opportunity in the opening set to go up 4-2. This proved to be the difference as it provided Eala enough cushion to close out in the ninth game to win the first set without ever facing a break point.
In the second set, Eala once again built an early lead at 3-1. The 21-year-old Wirges had her moments in the second set, scoring her first break point of the match.
Eala, however, would not let her get back into the match as the Filipina teen tennis ace converted three break points of her own to pull away in the opening-round match which lasted one hour and 23 minutes.
In the round of 16 on Thursday, Eala will face another qualifier, 19-year-old Denmark national player Johanne Svendsen.
Eala is looking for a strong showing in this week’s $40,000 ITF event to prop up her world ranking which has skidded to 204 from a high of 189.
The path to the title, however, will be fraught with top-notch competition. The field in Luxembourg includes two-time WTA champion and former world No. 33 Clara Tauson of Denmark.
The 20-year-old Tauson is a former world junior No. 1 and has made the third round of both the Australian Open and the French Open.
Also standing in Eala’s way are second seed and world No. 98 Jaqueline Cristian of Romania and third seed Oceane Dodin of France, who two weeks ago emerged champion of the ITF W60 Nantes. Eala reached the semifinals of the same tournament.
Eala is also set to play in the women’s doubles. She will partner with Zeynep Sonmez of Turkey as they take on fourth seeds Katarina Kozarov of Serbia and Anita Wagner of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Wednesday’s first round of competitions. – Rappler.com