MANILA—Alex Eala of the Philippines kicked off the 2022 season with 2 wins and 1 loss at the qualifying draw of the W25 Manacor tournament, where she failed to clinch a main draw slot at the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour competition.
Top seed Alice Rame of France overcame Eala, the No. 11 seed, in the third round of qualifying, 6-2, 6-4, at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain on Tuesday.
Rame, the 24-year-old WTA No. 375, soared to a 2-0 lead in the opening set. WTA No. 526 Eala, 16, caught up quickly with a forehand volley winner to hold serve at 1-2. She fired a solid forehand return winner to Rame’s second serve to even things out at 2-2.
A double fault from Eala granted Rame a break to lead at 3-2. The Frenchwoman extended her lead to 5-2 following a long forehand from the Filipino, then wrapped up the first set at 6-2.
Eala and Rame continued to exchange forceful baseline shots and gutsy volleys, and the Filipino teen immediately secured a 3-0 advantage in the second set. Rame fought back by winning the next 4 games, and Eala held serve to level at 4-4.
A netted forehand from Eala allowed Rame to break and serve for the match at 5-4. Rame saved 2 break points then claimed victory, 6-4, after Eala hit a forehand error.
Eala began her W25 Manacor qualifying draw campaign by ousting 16-year-old Ella Hojnik of Slovenia, 6-1, 6-1. She followed this up with a 7-6(2), 6-3 win over 18-year-old WTA No. 1334 Mia Chudejova of Slovakia.
“It’s good to be back competing,” Eala wrote on her Facebook page.
In 2021, the Rafa Nadal Academy scholar bagged her first professional title at the W15 Manacor tilt and won her 2nd Grand Slam crown at the Roland Garros girls’ doubles tournament with Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia.
Currently the Juniors World No. 8, Eala notched her maiden Grand Slam girls’ doubles championship with Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia at the 2020 Australian Open.