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Alex Eala qualifies for main draw in Rancho Santa Fe Open

Steve Angeles | TFC News Rancho Santa Fe, California

Posted at Oct 05 2022 08:41 PM

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US Open Junior Girls Champion Alex Eala is back on the court and on her winning ways.

This week, she is competing in the W80 Rancho Santa Fe Open in Southern California.

"It's a good restart coming back to the professional circuit and I think I'm doing very well, a lot of things that I learned in the Junior US Open so I'm trying to apply that in my next couple weeks," she said.

The tournament kicked off this week with Eala beating Latvia’s Deniza Marcinkevica, 6-1, 6-3.

On day two, Eala was near perfect against 22-year-old American Alana Smith, winning 6-0, 6-0.

Since winning the US Open last month, Eala hasn't been taking any breaks. Straight from the competition, she reached the top 16 at Templeton.

She said these international federation tennis tournaments have been a way to continue her growth.

"It's really a jungle where everyone wants to win. It's good character development. It's good for the mindset and it always wants you to keep fighting."

Filipino fans have been coming out to Eala's California tournaments to show their support for the 17-year-old.

"Even the small cities they come out and to support which is really nice to see. I'm so happy I have this impact on some Filipinos and I really hope it’s a positive one and something they can get inspiration from," she said.

But while she's made history as the first Filipina to win a major tennis tournament, Eala is neither changing her mindset nor feeling the pressure.

"I don't really think it's a lot of pressure. At least I don't try to think of it as pressure and not give myself a lot of expectations. Of course may sarili akong goals [I have my own goals] and things I want to achieve but I think overall, the win was very helpful to me and more positive."

Meanwhile, the Rancho Santa Fe Open's director John Chanfreau is also a Fil-Am. His mother Marita Redondo reached the fourth round of the 1978 US Open.

Top ranked college player Eryn Cayetano of the University of Southern California has also advanced to the second round of qualifiers.
 
The main draw round of 32 begins on Wednesday, with the finals scheduled for Sunday. The total prize pool for this tournament is $80,000.