Alex Eala opens W25 Madrid on winning note
MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala jumpstarted her quest to a second straight International Tennis Federation (ITF) title with a 6-3, 7-6 (8) win over American Jessica Failla in the opening round of the W25 Madrid in Spain on Thursday.
Four days after winning her first crown this year in the W25 Yecla, the 18-year-old Filipino outlasted the 25-year-old Failla in a grueling two-hour and 41-minute match to advance to the second round.
After a strong showing in the first set, Eala needed to fight back from a 1-3 deficit in the second seed before inching a game away from victory with a 6-5 lead.
However, Failla forced a tie and even took an 8-7 advantage but Eala caught fire, scoring three straight points to earn her first win in the $25,000 tournament.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar, who is currently No. 266 in the Women’s Tennis Association, battles another American in the second round on Friday against Alana Smith.
Eala won her third ITF crown in the W25 Yecla on Sunday, following a quarterfinals exit in the W25 Monastir in Tunisia last month.
The Filipino prodigy, who is competing in her 11th tournament this year, is looking to add more championships after ruling the 2021 W15 Manacor and last year’s W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.
Eala is also the first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title during last year’s US Open girls.