THE Philippines' Alex Eala overcame a jittery start to beat home bet Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, and win her first professional title in the W15 Manacor tournament in Mallorca, Spain on Sunday night (Manila time).
The youngest in the field in International Tennis Federation tournament at 15, Eala bounced back after losing the first set then forged ahead in the decider to take the fight out of an opponent 13 years older than her.
The Australian Open Juniors doubles champion entered the $15,000-event as a junior reserve player and the lowest seed. She ended it as the unlikely champion in an auspicious start to her year.
The come-from-behind win over Cavalle-Reimers capped a dream run for Eala, who beat Italian Anna Paradisi, a fellow junior in the opener, before toppling tournament top seed Australian Seone Mendez in the second round.
The Filipina netter then eased past Frenchwoman Carole Monnet in a marathon battle that lasted three hours the shrugged off fatigue to outplay Adithya Karunaratne in the semifinals, with less than 24 hours interval before the final.