MANILA – No. 3 seed Alex Eala of the Philippines made it to her third quarterfinal of the year at the W25 Madrid in Spain with a 6-4, 6-4 win on Friday over qualifier Alana Smith of the United States.
Eala, 18, won her third ITF women’s singles crown at the W25 Yecla in Spain last week and posted a quarterfinal result at the W25 Monastir in Tunisia last month.
In her second-round Madrid clash on Ciudad Raqueta’s Court 14, Eala trailed her 23-year-old American opponent, 0-2.
The WTA World No. 808 hit a backhand down-the-line winner to break in the first game and closed the following game with a forehand winner.
The Filipino World No. 266 saved three break points in the third game to get on the scoreboard, then broke serve after Smith hit a long forehand approach shot.
The netters exchanged service holds that were both sealed with an ace, and went on to trade service breaks to level at 4-4.
Eala, the reigning US Open Juniors singles winner, held serve for 5-4 and then gained three set points as Smith was serving to stay in the set.
The Filipino teen broke serve to love to clinch the first set, 6-4, after the American qualifier netted a forehand.
The competition remained tight in the second set as the players held serve to be at 2-2.
Eala upped her service game to hold at 40-0 for a 3-2 edge, and the third seed extended her lead to 4-2 after converting her third break point opportunity.
Smith, a two-time ITF women’s doubles titlist, secured the next two games without facing a break point to equalize at 4-4.
Eala managed to hold for 5-4 on her second game point after overcoming deuce, and this caused Smith to serve to remain in the match.
At 30-30 in the 10th game, a Smith backhand shot that was called out gave Eala her first match point.
The Filipino player from the Rafa Nadal Academy concluded the match at 6-4 with a gutsy forehand approach shot winner.
In the quarterfinals, Eala will go up against another American foe in World No. 383 and fifth seed Makenna Jones.
The 25-year-old Jones, who has two professional singles championships on the ITF Tour, outlasted countrywoman Dalayna Hewitt in the second round, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.
In the opening round of the $25,000 ITF tournament, Eala rallied to a 6-3, 7-6(8) victory over American Jessica Failla while Jones eliminated Spanish wildcard Carolina Gomez, 6-3, 6-2.