ALEX M. Eala moved closer to barging into the main draw of the W25 Manacor after registering back-to-back wins in the qualifying phase at the Rafael Nadal Academy (RNA) in Spain.
Playing in her first event this year, the Filipina ace made short work of Slovenia’s Ella Hojnik, 6-1, 6-1, over the weekend before beating Mia Chudejová of Slovakia with a gritty 7-6, 6-3 victory late on Monday night.
Ms. Eala was to play France’s Alice Rame in the finale for a shot at entering the main draw, where a number of top-400 Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) players are already seeded.
Ranked No. 526 in the latest WTA list this week, Ms. Eala looms as a heavy underdog against the 24-year-old French hotshot listed at No. 375 in the world rankings.
Ms. Rame proved that caliber with easy wins over Germany’s Stella Jurina, 6-2, 6-2, and Italy’s Margherita Viglietti, 6-0, 6-0. But the 16-year-old Ms. Eala is unfazed by the challenge with a mission to make a run for her second title in the women’s professional circuit.
Ms. Eala last year ruled the W15 Manacor for her breakthrough pro championship also held in RNA where she is a scholar. — John Bryan Ulanday