Alex Eala is preparing very hard for the French Open juniors slated to begin later in the week. But so are a handful of rising stars like her.
The 16-year-old Filipino hotshot, who made the semifinals at Roland Garros last year, is expected to be in the top 3 seedings in the girls singles main draw.
“I spoke to her earlier tonight and she said she’s tired as she’s been working really hard the last week,” said her father Mike. “She’s really excited to get back to the French Open and compete.”
Before she leaves for Paris, Alex got a big emotional boost by the visit of her brother Miko, an alumnus of Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca where she’s a scholar. “Family is everything,” she wrote on her Facebook page.She could use all the help she could get as the road to a historic Grand Slam trophy is strewn with equally talented and hungry players like her.
Expected to have top ranking is Victoria Jimenez-Kasintseva of Andorra. The 15-year-old won the 2020 Australian Open girls crown on her Grand Slam debut.
That was the same year Eala and Indonesian Priska Nugroho bagged the girls’ doubles title.
A lefty like Eala, Kasintseva, the world No. 703 in women’s, played in women’s Grand Slam already, though exiting in the first round in the Australian Open early this year.
Polina Kudermetova of Russia, with a world ranking of 605, is also in the way of the crown. Like Eala, the 17-year-old finished in the semis last year.
But the Filipino pride, the world No. 661, has proven she’s not easily intimidated by tough opponents.
Last year she gave the Philippines its best Grand Slam result by making the semis and losing to eventual champion Elsa Jacquemot of France. INQ
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