Alex Eala stuns former world No. 5 in Miami Open qualifiers

Ariel Ian Clarito

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Alex Eala stuns former world No. 5 in Miami Open qualifiers

FOCUSED. Alex Eala reacts during a singles match in the ITF W75 Porto in Portugal.


Alex Eala pulls off an upset over former French Open finalist Sara Errani to move within one win from advancing to the main draw of the Miami Open

MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala slayed an Italian legend in Miami.

Up against the most decorated player she has faced in her young career, the Filipina teen tennis star rose to the challenge and came out firing.

The result: a breezy 6-3, 6-1 victory over Sara Errani on Sunday, March 17 (Monday, March 18, Manila time) in the opening round of the qualifiers of the WTA Miami Open.

Currently ranked 100th in the world, Errani is a former singles finalist of the French Open. Once ranked as high as No. 5 in the world, Errani has made the semifinals of the US Open and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon.

Errani is also the former No. 1 doubles player in the world and owns a career grand slam after winning the Australian Open (twice), French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

These sterling credentials, though, hardly awed Eala, who pounced on Errani’s spotty service game from the get-go.

Eala went up 5-2 in the first set and closed it out in the ninth game of the opening set, where she broke Errani in all the four times the Italian was on serve.

The 18-year-old Eala made sure not to allow the 36-year-old Errani back in the match.

Eala kept her foot on the gas in the second set and broke the Italian three more times to end the match after just 1 hour and 12 minutes.

The past few months have revealed some improvements in Eala’s game, specifically her serve. This was evident in the match against Errani as Eala kept her double faults to a minimum – just three – while she fired four aces.

It was a surprisingly quick victory for Eala against Errani who, although has shown signs of slowing down, remains a very dangerous foe.

Just in February, the Italian veteran made the quarterfinals of the WTA 250 Winner’s Open in Romania. She has also registered wins this year over top 100 players such as Arina Rodionova of Australia, Tatjana Maria of Spain, and Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.

Now just a win away from barging into the main draw of the Miami Open, Eala faces another stern challenge in Emiliana Arango of Columbia, who pulled off an upset over world No. 88 and former US Open girls’ singles champion Kayla Day of the United States.

The 23-year-old Arango is currently No. 121 in the world and has won three titles in the ITF tour.

Eala is scheduled to take on Arango at 12:15 am on Tuesday (Manila time). –

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