Tennis: Thailand Open glad to have Alex Eala among its Asian contenders

Rosy Mina

Posted at Jan 27 2023 04:30 PM

Alex Eala of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Michael Eala on Instagram.
Alex Eala of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of Michael Eala on Instagram.

HUA HIN, Thailand – Teen sensation Alexandra “Alex” Eala of the Philippines is slated to fight for a spot in the main draw of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) Thailand Open in Hua Hin this weekend.

Almost two weeks since her professional debut in the Australian Open qualifying draw, the 17-year-old US Open Juniors singles champion will compete in the qualifiers of the WTA 250 tournament beginning Saturday at the True Arena Hua Hin.

“It’s great for her to be here with us in Hua Hin,” former Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) World No. 9 and Thailand Open co-tournament director Paradorn Srichaphan told ABS-CBN News. 

“She is representing Asian tennis and it’s beautiful to have her here,” added the Thai superstar with five ATP singles titles.

Eala, who is currently ranked by the WTA at a career-high No. 214, is aiming to join the main draw competition from January 30 to February 5.

Thailand Open co-tournament director Grant Carpio also expressed delight about the participation of the highest-ranked Filipino in WTA history. 

“I am very happy that Alex and her team decided to include Hua Hin in her schedule. I have heard about her for some time, especially after she won in New York,” he said to ABS-CBN News.

Carpio added: “Being of Filipino descent myself, it was a proud moment to see her represent her country and the global Filipino community. I wish her all the best this week at the Thailand Open and hope she enjoys her time both on and off the courts.”

Other Asians in the qualifying draw are South Korea's Na-Lae Han, Uzbekistan's Nigina Abduraimova, Turkey's Ipek Oz, India's Karman Thandi, China's Xinyu Gao, and Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum and Peangtarn Plipuech.

Asian aces entered in the main draw as of Thursday are Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva, Japan's Moyuka Uchijima and Nao Hibino, South Korea's Su Jeong Jang, and China's Xiyu Wang, Lin Zhu, and Xinyu Wang.

Among the main draw headliners are former World No. 4, 2019 US Open champion and wild card recipient Bianca Andreescu of Canada, and 2019 Thailand Open champion Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, three-time grand slam quarterfinalist and 2019 Thailand finalist Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia and 2023 Australian Open semifinalist and 2020 Thailand titlist Magda Linette of Poland have withdrawn from the Hua Hin tilt. 

The Thailand Open is Eala’s fifth WTA event, following her wildcard stints in 2021 at the Winners Open main draw in Romania, and the Miami Open qualifying in the United States. 

In 2022, she competed as a wildcard in two WTA 1000 events: the Miami Open main draw, and Madrid Open qualifiers in Spain.

The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar is a two-time singles champion on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women's World Tennis Tour at the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand. 

The former ITF Juniors World No. 2 also has two junior doubles grand slam titles from the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Roland Garros.


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