MANILA – Filipino No. 4 seed Alex Eala advanced to her fourth semifinal of the year after a hard-fought win over Spanish No. 6 seed Rosa Vicens Mas, 7-6(3), 7-6(4), at the W25 El Espinar/Segovia tournament in Spain on Thursday.
“I was saddened to hear about the earthquake back home,” the 17-year-old wrote on Facebook about the magnitude 7.0 Abra earthquake that struck on Wednesday.
“So, this win goes out to all the affected families. I had a huge battle today winning 7-6 / 7-6.”
Eala, currently on a career-high ranking of WTA World No. 282, will face another Spaniard in No. 7 seed and WTA World No. 326 Eva Guerrero Alvarez in Friday’s semifinals.
The Eala-Vicens Mas quarterfinal was scheduled second at the Pedro Muñoz Court of the Complejo Deportivo Open Castilla y Leon.
Despite Eala taking a 4-2 lead in the first set and 5-3 edge in the second set, the match exceeded the two-hour mark because of many twists and turns.
Eala went on to serve for the first set at 5-4, but WTA World No. 285 Vicens Mas saved a set point and broke to equalize after three deuces.
At 6-6, they proceeded to a tiebreak where Eala secured a 4-1 lead after the 22-year-old Spanish player committed a double fault.
The Filipino teen pulled away, 5-2, then broke serve to gain three set points, 6-3. She served out the first set, 7-6(3), after 1 hour and 4 minutes.
In the second set, Vicens Mas got an early lead, 3-1, but Eala won the next four games to serve for the match at 5-3.
Down 0-40, Eala only managed to improve to 30-40 before Vicens Mas broke serve to be at 4-5.
The Spaniard saved three match points in the 10th game to be at 5-5, and Eala answered back by holding serve, 6-5, after saving a break point.
Another tiebreak ensued, with Vicens Mas soaring to a 4-1 lead after she held serve twice and clinched two mini breaks.
A double fault by Vicens Mas awarded Eala a mini break, and the Filipino pushed on to win the next two points to level at 4-4.
Eala finally took control of the second-set tiebreak, 5-4, with her second ace of the match.
She carried on and quickly gained two more mini breaks for the victory, 7-6(4), after 2 hours and 19 minutes of play.
Prior to the quarters of the $25,000 International Tennis Federation (ITF) event, Eala moved past Russian Maria Bondarenko in the first round and American Amy Zhu in the second round with the same score, 6-4, 6-3.
In the semis, Eala will aim to score her second win over Guerrero Alvarez, 22, whom she defeated in three sets earlier this month in the W25 Corroios-Seixal first round in Portugal.
Eala is seeking her third professional title on the ITF Women’s World Tennis Tour, following her championship triumphs at the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.
Last month, the Rafa Nadal Academy player made it to her first W60 final in Madrid, where she lost to home bet Marina Bassols Ribera, the No. 14 seed, in straight sets.