MANILA, Philippines -- Filipina tennis phenom Alex Eala is the toast of the town after her historic triumph in New York over the weekend, where she won the US Open girls singles championship.
The 17-year-old Eala took down No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, in the finals at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. On her way to becoming the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title, Eala did not drop a single set.
Her feat drew praise from Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and several lawmakers, while her fellow athletes and sports figures also celebrated.
"A nation of over a hundred million people take pride in your accomplishment. My family and I salute you!" former world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao told Eala on Twitter.
"Keep being an inspiration. Work hard and stay humble. The world has yet to see more of you and what we Filipinos are capable of. Congratulations!" he added.
Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) president Rep. Abraham "Bambol" Tolentino said Eala's triumph at the US Open is just the beginning.
"Alex will go a long, long way in her tennis career, which is just budding," Tolentino said in a statement. "We expect Alex to bring more honors to the country, and her accomplishment would definitely inspire young Filipinos to follow in her footsteps."
Her triumph was a source of pride to newly-appointed Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) chairman Noli Eala, the uncle of the tennis champion.
"What a way to start my chairmanship of the PSC. My own niece giving the country another reason to be proud and to celebrate," said the PSC chief.
In a statement, the PSC chairman said Eala's triumph "is a testament to the Filipino spirit and our strength of character."
"It also proves that there is no shortcut to success," Noli Eala said. "Alex worked long hours and days, and sacrificed being away from home to pursue her dream and achieve this milestone in her career."
"She has proven that the Filipino can be at par with anyone, if given a genuine pathway to success. Truly a proud moment for the country."
On social media, her fellow Filipino athletes also hailed Eala's feat, with the Philippine women's national football team -- trailblazers in their own right -- leading the way.
Before her singles triumph in the US Open, Eala previously won grand slam doubles at the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 French Open.