FRESH off her three-week stint at the International Tennis Federation’s W15 Manacor tournament in Mallorca Spain which ended last week, Alex Eala is now in France for her fourth straight pro tilt this 2021.
To headstart the $25,000 Trophee de la Ville tourney in Grenoble, she held off elder foe Laura Loana Paar of Romania in extended sets, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in the opening match on Tuesday night.
Paar, who's 17 years older than Eala and ranked 190th in the Women’s Tennis Association, started strong but the 15-year-old was able to catch up with her momentum late in the game, earning consecutive points to seal the first set.
With the match tied at 4-4 in the following set, the Romanian pulled away and forced a decider which Eala eventually survived to cap off the match that lasted for two hours and 18 minutes.
This was the Filipina’s first $25,000 this year, and she’s allowed to compete in two more W25s, as well as two $60,000s. (These tournaments mean going up against the WTA top 100 to 200 players).
She earned this spot through the Junior Exempt Program where the top Junior players by the end of the year are entitled to a number of pro matches in the coming year.
Eala ended 2020 and opened 2021 as World No. 3, although her career-best was No. 2.
But for the record, this current contest is already her second $25,000. Her debut was in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, November last year, where she reached the second round.
Clinching her first Women’s Singles maiden title in the first leg of the W15 Manacor, Eala entered the top 1000 of the WTA, and from 942nd spot, she’s now in the 903rd as of this writing.
Eala will next face tournament’s seventh-seeded Cristina Busca of Spain in the second round (round of 16).