Alex Eala reaches Thailand Open main draw
MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala marched to the main draw of the Thailand Open as she swept Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus, 6-2, 7-5, in the second round of qualifiers on Sunday at True Arena in Hua Hin.
After a dominant first-set win, the 17-year-old Eala displayed grace under pressure in the second set when the ninth-seed Dmitruk tied the set at 5-all.
But the Filipino prodigy pulled through winning two consecutive games to close out the last phase of qualifiers in 77 minutes.
Eala battles Tatjana Maria of Germany to start the main draw.
Eala, who recently rose to her career-best ranking in the Women’s Tennis Association as the World No. 214, barged through the main draw of the $250,000 tournament.
The Thailand Open, which starts on Monday and ends on February 5, features the top female netters in the world, led by top seed Bianca Andreescu of Canada.
It will be her third main draw appearance in the WTA tournament as the reigning US Open girls singles champion reached the second round of the WTA Winners Open in Romania and the Miami Open last year.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar came off an early exit in the qualifying round of the 2023 Australian Open with her first Grand Slam appearance as a pro was ended by Japan’s Misaki Doi in early January.
Thailand Open is Eala’s fifth WTA event, including qualifying draw appearances in the 2021 Miami Open and last year’s Madrid Open in Spain.