MANILA—Filipino tennis phenom Alex Eala capitalized on a quick start at the W25 Manacor ITF tournament in Spain to churn out a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Simona Waltert of Switzerland at the Rafa Nadal Academy by Movistar.
It was a windy Wednesday morning when World No. 763 Eala enjoyed a 2-0 lead over World No. 284 Waltert in the first set. The Swiss with 5 singles titles to her name broke in the next game but Eala, who won her first pro title in January, asserted her play throughout the opening set.
A forehand volley from the 15-year-old Filipino gave her two break points, and she converted to lead at 5-1. Serving for the set, Eala was down 0-40 but managed to catch up. She sealed the first set with a forehand volley after 45 minutes of play.
Eala broke right away in the opening game of the second set, but 20-year-old Waltert replied with a break. They held serve in the next 2 games before Eala broke again to lead at 3-2. Waltert leveled at 3-3 with another break and then held serve to lead at 4-3.
Waltert had two break points in the next game but Eala, refusing to let up, held serve to even at 4-4. Eala kept her momentum to clinch the crucial break of serve to lead at 5-4. She then kept her focus while serving for the match, securing a 40-0 lead.
Waltert fought on to deuce and gained a break point, which Eala saved. The Filipino gained her fourth match point, but was challenged further by the Swiss. Eala claimed victory on her fifth match point after 1 hour and 45 minutes.
In the second round, Eala will face 3rd seed Jana Fett of Croatia, the World No. 210.
Before joining the W25 Manacor as a junior exempt, Eala had a quarterfinal finish at the W25 Grenoble tournament in France in February.
The 2020 Australian Open junior girls' doubles champion and Rafa Nadal Academy scholar kicked off the year with a stunning performance at the W15 Manacor tournament wherein she won the first leg and posted quarterfinal finishes in the second and third legs.
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