Filipino second seed Alex Eala breezed through the quarterfinals versus Mexican Victoria Rodriguez, 6-1, 6-3, to reach her first semifinal of the season at the W25 Yecla tilt in Spain on Friday.
Eala, the 18-year-old ranked 266th on the WTA Tour, commanded the first set at 5-0 via a love service hold.
After failing to hold serve in the fourth game despite forcing a deuce, World No. 637 Rodriguez saved two set points to finally get on the scoreboard.
As Eala earned a set point while serving at 5-1, she committed a double fault that brought the game to deuce.
On her second set point, the Filipino with two ITF women’s singles championships took the first set, 6-1.
Eala and Rodriguez, 28, had a closer battle in the beginning of the second set as the first and third games had several deuces.
At 2-2, Eala gained a break point courtesy of a Rodriguez double fault, and she converted it to advance to 3-2.
The 2022 US Open Juniors singles winner and Rafa Nadal Academy player proceeded to be at 4-2 via a love service hold.
Rodriguez, a nine-time ITF women’s singles titlist with 22 doubles crowns, responded with a swift service hold at 40-15 to trail at 3-4.
Eala secured another solid service hold at 40-0 to inch closer to victory at 5-3, and the two-time junior doubles grand slam champion broke serve on her lone match point to enter the semifinals, 6-3.
After one hour and six minutes of play on the outdoor hard court of Yecla Club de Tenis, Eala served two aces and one double fault while Rodriguez had no aces and committed four double faults.
The Filipino No. 2 seed in Yecla wrote on her Facebook page, “After my quarterfinals finish in Monastir, Tunisia during my birthday week, I am glad to have won my quarterfinals match today!”
Last week, Eala turned 18 on May 23 and three days later, she wrapped up her W25 Monastir run in the quarters with a 6-0, 4-6, 3-6 loss to Chinese qualifier Jiaqi Wang.
As Eala has improved on her results this week, she is aiming to score a crucial win in the semifinals on Saturday against 17-year-old qualifier Lucia Peyre of Argentina, the World No. 906.
Both semifinalists reached their career-high rankings in October, with Eala peaking at 214th and one-time ITF women’s singles winner Peyre reaching No. 714.
Peyre moved past fellow qualifier Olga Parres Azcoitia of Spain, 6-3, 7-5, in the first round, countrywoman and third seed Solana Sierra, 6-3, ret., in the second round, and Serbian Katarina Kozarov in the quarters, 6-3, 7-6(5).
Eala, meanwhile, started her campaign with back-to-back three-set victories over British World No. 583 Katy Dunne in the opening round, 7-5, 2-6, 6-2, and French qualifier and World No. 585 Nahia Berecoechea in the second round, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1.