Alex Eala, PH girls march to ITF World Junior quarters
MANILA, Philippines–The Philippines’ brightest hopes in tennis showed their worth after blasting into the quarterfinals of the ITF World Junior Girls Championships in Prostejov, Czech Republic.
Regardless of what happens in the quarters—which will pit the Philippines against unbeaten powerhouse Czech Republic—the country’s girls team already made a mark in the prestigious 14-under tournament.
“This is a dream come true for us; we started with a modest goal and now we have achieved those small goals and reached the Final 8,” said 14-year-old Alex Eala, the country’s No. 1 player.
The Philippines drubbed Venezuela (3-0) and China (2-1) before bowing to the United States (3-0) in Group B action.
“The Filipinos are largely underrated in the international scene and we tried to use it to our advantage,” added Eala, who is on scholarship at Rafael Nadal Academy in Mallorca, Spain.
Joining her in the team are Alexa Joy Milliam and Jenaila Rose Prulla under the watch of national coach Czarina Mae Arevalo.
“Our players worked their way through a lot of stages just to qualify for the finals. Hopefully, in the future they can represent the country in the national (women’s) team,” said national head coach Chris Cuarto of the Philippine Tennis Association.
The Philippines joined 17 teams who made the finals in Prostejov after ruling the Asia/Oceania qualifying early this year in Kuala Lumpur.
The trip to the finals also marked the first time a girls team qualified since 1993.
“We will not stop working and trying to push our boundaries,” added Eala, who downed Minjia Ye (6-1, 6-1) in second singles of the match-up against China.
That win tied the score after Jiantong Cai defeated Milliam (6-4, 6-4). Together they fought through to score a 6-7 (4), 6-3, 10-3 win over Cai and Yiwen Xiang in the doubles rubber.
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