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MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala sustained her winning form in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Tour and aced her first test in the W25 Madrid in Spain.
Fresh from winning her third pro ITF title in the W25 Yecla over the weekend, Eala earned a 6-3, 7-6 (8) triumph over Jessica Failla of the United States in the opening round of the main draw on Thursday, June 8.
The 18-year-old Filipina raced to a promising start then held off Failla in the second set to arrange a clash with another American in qualifier Alana Smith.
Down 1-3 in the second set, No. 3 seed Eala claimed five of the next seven games to move on the cusp of victory, 6-5, before Failla held her serve and clinched the 12th game to force a tiebreaker.
Failla looked poised to force a deciding set when she grabbed an 8-7 lead in the tiebreaker, but Eala won three straight points to secure the sweep.
A win over Smith will secure Eala a third straight quarterfinal appearance in the ITF Tour.
Eala reached the quarterfinals of the W25 Monastir in Tunisia in May before she clinched her first pro title of the year in the W25 Yecla in Spain.
The Rafa Nadal Academy student has been hard at work in the international tennis circuit, with the W25 Madrid her 11th tournament of the year. – Rappler.com