FILIPINA tennis sensation Alex M. Eala will resume her steady rise in the world rankings from eighth place after a stellar 2021 campaign that even catapulted her to second spot at one point.

After closing out the year at No. 10, the 16-year-old ace climbed two notches in the first International Tennis Federation (ITF) world junior ranking this year for a good season start.

She has 1,481 points so far as a stepping stone spiked by two late tournaments last month in her return from a long hiatus due to a foot injury.

Her extended absence almost dragged her outside the top 10 after being idle inside the top three for months due to consistent showing in different world tour and major tournaments like the Wimbledon and the US Open.

Back in July, Ms. Eala seized the second spot after ruling the French Open with Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva. She also captured a twin-title in the prestigious JA Milan.

Croatia’s Petra Marcinko, Czech Republic’s Linda Fruhvirtova, Russia’s Diana Shnaider, Brenda Fruhvirtova and former No. 1 Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, respectively, are the top five players to start 2022.

Joining Ms. Eala inside the top 10 are Russia’s Ksenia Zaytseva (sixth), USA’s Robin Montgomery (seventh), Argentina’ Solana Sierra (ninth) and American Clervie Ngounoue (10th).

Meanwhile, Ms. Eala is steady at No. 526 in the first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) list with hopes of winning her second pro title.

Ms. Eala bagged her maiden crown in the women’s pro circuit last year that put her at a career-high 505th ranking after starting from outside top 1500. — John Bryan Ulanday