Filipina tennis prodigy and Globe Ambassador Alex Eala stunned number 8 seed Francesca Jones of Great Britain to open her campaign in the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain on the right track.
Eala, competing in just her second tournament as a professional, took out Jones in straight sets, 6-3-7-6 (3) to announce her arrival on the $25,000 International Tennis Federation World tennis tour event.
Eala, the world junior’s number 2 ranked player, was expected to have her hands full against her British opponent who is five years older and has reached a career-best ranking of 241st in the Women’s Tennis Association.
The Filipina sensation, however, held her ground especially in the tie-break in the second set to record her second win as a professional. Eala won her pro debut in Castellon early this month but the tournament was canceled due to bad weather.
The Rafa Nadal Academy (RNA) scholar was the first Filipina tennis player to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam juniors tournament when she reached the final four of the 2020 French Open in Paris last month. Due to her stellar run in the Roland Garros tournament, she rose to the number two spot in the Junior ITF world rankings, the highest ever achieved by a Filipina in the history of the sport. Eala won the 2020 Australian Open Girls’ Doubles title early this year.
Eala has been a Globe Ambassador since 2016.
She will face qualifier Lara Salden of Belgium in the second round of the tournament. Salden, 21, beat local bet Jessica Bouzas Maneiro in straight sets in the first round and is coming off a title run in the Lousada Indoor Open in Portugal.