Tennis: Alex Eala powers into second round of W25 Monastir in Tunisia

Rosy Mina

Posted at May 24 2023 08:33 PM | Updated as of May 24 2023 10:44 PM

Alex Eala of the Philippines at the 2023 Miami Open. Alex Eala on Instagram
Alex Eala of the Philippines at the 2023 Miami Open. Alex Eala on Instagram

MANILA – Top seed Alex Eala of the Philippines marched into the second round of the W25 Monastir in Tunisia on Wednesday with a 6-1, 6-1 victory over German qualifier Anja Wildgruber.

Eala, who turned 18 on May 23, is ranked 262nd in the WTA rankings while Wildgruber, 21, is the World No. 1091. 

In the second match on the Hotel Skanes Family Monastir Center Court, which has an outdoor hard surface, Eala overcame deuce in the opening game to hold serve, 1-0.

The two-time ITF women’s singles champion zoomed to 3-0 by firing an ace that sealed a solid love service hold.

At 4-1, the reigning US Open Juniors singles winner broke serve to love, 5-1, for a chance to serve out the first set.

The seventh game went to deuce after Eala committed her second double fault in the same game, but the Filipino teen shrugged it off and secured the opening set, 6-1.

Eala continued to take the lead in the second set at 2-0, then backed this up with a love service hold for 3-1 and a love service break for a 4-1 edge.

She earned two game points with an ace before claiming the sixth game, 5-1, at 40-30.

Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy scholar, broke serve to love once again for the win, 6-1.

In 55 minutes, the Filipino teen triumphed with two aces, two double faults, and five out of six break points won, while the German qualifier had one ace, five double faults, and zero break points faced. 

In the second round, Eala will face a much higher-ranked player in 23-year-old Nadine Keller of Switzerland, the World No. 483.

Prior to competing in this week’s ITF $25,000 event in Tunisia, Eala was a main draw wild card recipient at last month’s Mutua Madrid Open in Spain, where she suffered a 1-6, 1-6 loss in the first round to 2022 Wimbledon semifinalist Tatjana Maria of Germany. 

It was Eala’s second loss to the 35-year-old Maria, following her 2-6, 2-6 opening-round defeat as a qualifier in January at the WTA Thailand Open in Hua Hin.

Eala, the girls’ doubles winner at the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Roland Garros, is seeking her third professional singles title after conquering the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.

The former ITF Juniors World No. 2 became the highest-ranked Filipino in WTA history in October when she peaked at World No. 214.


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