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Eala looks for traction as French Open nears


Alex Eala Rafa Nadal Academy

Photo from Rafa Nadal Academy Facebook

Alex Eala continued to play like she belongs among the grown ups. With a quarterfinal slot at stake, she has to prove she can thrive there.

The Filipino teenager will take on hometown bet Irene Burillo Escorihuela late Thursday in the second round of the W25 in Platja D’Aro in Spain after turning back Alba Carrillo Marin (6-3, 5-7, 7-5) on Wednesday night.

Eala, who will turn 16 on May 23, scored her third victory over the 25-year-old Marin—ranked No. 490 in the world among women—following a battle that lasted almost three hours.

Steadily rising in the WTA rankings at 659, Eala hopes to use that win against Marin to get momentum and advance deeper into the draw so she can gain traction for her French Open juniors campaign next week.

Escorihuela, a 23-year-old World No. 265, pulled the rug from under seventh seed Simona Waltert of Switzerland (4-6, 7-5, 7-5). The right-handed grinder owns a 229-171 win-loss record.On the other hand, Eala, holds a 20-11 count in her budding career as she sets her sights on improving her semifinal finish at Roland Garros last year.

And after that singles match, Eala will partner with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva in the doubles quarterfinals over at Court 3.

Eala and Selekhmeteva will face top seeds Sofya Lansere and Vlada Koval for a place in the semifinals.

Eala and Selekhmeteva defeated Spain’s Valeria Koussenkova and South Africa’s Warona Mdlulwa, 6-2, 6-0, in the opening round.

Lansere and Koval dominated their first assignment, too, trouncing Great Britain’s Cheri Darley and Spain’s Cristina Mayorova Bakhtina, 6-0, 6-3. Eala is currently a scholar at Rafael Nadal Academy, where she trains and pursues her studies. She was one of the major awardees of the Philippine Sportswriters Association this year and hopes to build on last year’s successes.


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