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Alex Eala upsets ITF singles world No. 2 for 1st pro quarters berth

Alex Eala pulled off an upset right in her year-opening professional tournament as she defeated the ITF singles world No. 2 and event top seed for her maiden pro quarters berth.

The Filipina teen tennis sensation swept Australian Seone Mendez, 6-4, 6-1, in the ITF Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour tournament on Thursday, January 21 in Manacor, Spain.

Up next for Eala, who continues to face tough opponents in the women's circuit, is tournament No. 5 seed and ITF singles world No. 14 Carole Monnet of France in the quarterfinals.

The 19-year-old Monnet has won 6 women's $15,000 titles in Monastir, Tunisia since graduating from the juniors circuit in 2019.

In her key match against Mendez, Eala blitzed to a 3-0 start in the opening set before the tournament's top seed managed to tie the score at 4-4.

Eala closed out the 1st set with back-to-back games, which fueled her momentum to sweep the 21-year-old Mendez in the 2nd set.

With the cancellation of the Australian Open juniors tournament, Eala and Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho will not be able to defend their 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles title.

But Eala managed to achieve a personal goal of nailing her first professional quarters berth especially after missing out on a chance last year due to a mid-tournament cancellation.

After kicking off the 2020 season with her maiden Grand Slam title in Melbourne, the 15-year-old tennis star became the country's first junior Grand Slam semifinalist in 35 years in the Roland Garros girls singles tournament.– Rappler.com

Beatrice Go

More commonly known as “Bee”, Beatrice is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Phillippine sports governance, national teams, football and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.

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