ALEX Eala gave Philippine sports something to cheer about on Sunday after advancing to the main draw of the US Open Junior Tennis Championships in New York.
Eala survived two tough matches in the qualifying tournament to clinch a final 64 berth at the Tennis Center Flushing Meadows.
The clincher came when the Filipina sensation stunned No. 1 seed Romana Cisovska of Slovakia, 6-3, 6-0, early Sunday morning. The Slovakian is currently ranked No. 57 in the world.
Eala’s victory came a few hours after Gilas Pilipinas suffered a 62-108 whipping at the hands of Italy in its opening game in the FIBA World Cup.
Seeded 15th, the 14-year-old Eala earlier turned back Kim Hance of the US, 6-3, 7-5, to arrange the meeting with Cisovska at the Cary Leeds Tennis Center.
Jeson Patrombon was the last Filipino to achieve the feat when he also advance to the main draw of the US Open Juniors Tennis Championships in 2011.
Eala, a niece of former PBA Commissioner and known broadcaster Noli Eala, along with Alexa Joy Milliam and Jenaila Prulla are coming off a record-setting fifth place finish for the Philippines in the recent World Juniors Tennis Championships in Czech Republic.