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Filipina teen tennis sensation Alex Eala had a dominating start to 2022 with a first round win on Sunday, January 16, in the qualifying draw of women’s $25,000 event of the Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour in Manacor, Spain.
Eala, seeded No. 11 in qualifying, defeated Slovenia’s Ella Hojnik, 6-1, 6-1, to cruise to the second round and put herself two wins away from the main draw.
The 16-year-old Filipina will face Slovakia’s Mia Chudejova on Monday, January 17. Eala, ranked No. 527 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) is set to have the upperhand as the 18-year-old Slovakian holds a pro ranking of No. 1337.
Eala, who won her maiden pro title in the same tour exactly a year ago, hopes to bounce back from her foot injury after her stint in the US Open where she reached the quarterfinal. She returned to sporting action in the women’s $25,000 tournament in Czech Republic last November and capped off her season in the Orange Bowl Junior Championships in Florida.
She ended her 2021 season in the doubles quarterfinal of the Florida Grade A junior tournament.
The Filipina tennis ace, who will be focusing on her professional career, will highly likely miss her junior Grand Slam title defense in the Australian Open.
She won her maiden Grand Slam title in the 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles tournament with Indonesian Priska Nugroho. Eala then won her second Slam in the 2021 French Open girls doubles event with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva. – Rappler.com