MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala is on the cusp of a breakthrough junior singles Grand Slam title.
Eala clinched a 6-1, 7-6 (5) win over Victoria Mboko of Canada to reach the finals of the US Open girls’ singles tournament in New York on Friday, September 9 (Saturday, September 10, Manila time).
The 17-year-old Filipina overcame a slow start in the second set against a determined Mboko to advance to her first-ever junior singles finals in a Grand Slam.
“One more,” Eala wrote in Filipino on Facebook.
Mboko led 3-1 and 6-5 in the second set before Eala fought back as she forced a tiebreaker after a shutout win in the 12th game.
Seizing a 6-5 advantage in the tiebreak, Eala completed the comeback in 1 hour and 21 minutes following a double fault from Mboko.
Mboko edged Eala in aces and winners, but the Filipina teenager tallied 10 less unforced errors (21-31) to pick up the win.
Seeded 10th, Eala will tangle with second seed Lucie Havlickova of Czech Republic for the championship on Sunday (Manila time).
It will be a tough finals challenge for Eala considering Havlickova won the French Open girls’ singles crown earlier this year.
But Eala has been a steady force all tournament long as she has not dropped a set in five matches. – Rappler.com