MANILA, Philippines—Alex Eala displayed the brand of tennis beyond her years by thrashing Thai Luksika Kumkhum, 6-4, 6-2, Sunday to capture the W25 Chiang Rai for her second ITF title in the pro circuit.
The 16-year-old Eala broke the hometown bet’s serves four times in seven chances — including one at match point — and held steady down the stretch to follow up on her last year’s conquest of the W15 Manacor in Spain.
More than ever it was a promising performance for the Rafael Nadal Academy scholar who is representing the country in next month’s Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi.
“I’m very thrilled and excited to be playing here in Thailand,” said Eala through her dad, Mike. “And in a way, this is a preparation for the SEA Games which is a very special tournament as I get to represent my country with the team.”
Eala, who is expected to climb up the world rankings after her victory, said the Thai ITF title and her SEAG campaign are part of her build-up for bigger tournaments in the coming months.
“I try to treat every tournament as important as the next and focus on each tournament one at a time,” added Eala.
Now ranked 533rd, Eala entered the final as the underdog to the 28-year-old Khumkum, a SEAG singles champion and former No. 66 in the world.