Only virtual cheers for Eala, who sets sights on final
Alex Eala was the youngest among the girls semifinalists in the French Open. She was also the only Asian among the last four and on the other side of the net stood local bet Elsa Jacquemot.
In normal times, the 15-year-old Filipino would have gotten little in the way of crowd support.
In a 2020 that has turned life upside down? Even less.
Her usual support crew, her parents, were held down by travel restrictions because of a global health crisis and could not fly to Paris to be with her at Roland Garros.
Alex’s father, Michael, has been reduced to an online spectator, catching live streams of her match. And he finds it humbling to know he’s not the only one cheering Alex on.
“[I’m] surprised with the number of Filipinos coming out on all media to support her,” Michael said. “It’s very humbling.”
Eala reached the semifinals on Thursday night by beating Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Seeded No. 2, she was playing No. 4 Jacquemot late Friday for a spot in the final.
Eala, a scholar at Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy, has so far shown her mental toughness in winning her second straight match in three sets.
She dropped the first set to Noskova but displayed resilience in turning things around against her finals rival in the 2018 Les Petits As event.
In the semifinals, the ninth grader finds herself in the company of older aces who have already been campaigning in the women’s professional circuit.
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