Alex Eala advances to W25 Madrid quarterfinals
MANILA, Philippines — Alex Eala advanced to the quarterfinals of the W25 Madrid as she took down American Alana Smith, 6-4, 6-4, on Friday at Ciudad Raqueta in Spain.
The 18-year-old Eala got the better of the 23-year-old Smith in an hour and 44 minutes to book her third consecutive quarterfinals appearance in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments.
The Filipino prodigy made her first quarterfinals of the year in the W25 Monastir in Tunisia two weeks ago before claiming her third ITF crown in the W25 Yecla five days ago.
The third-seed Eala is facing No.5 Makenna Jones, who is also from the United States, in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Jones overcame a first-set loss before beating fellow American Dalayna Hewitt, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, in their second-round duel.
Eala overcame a sluggish 0-2 start in the first set as she won three straight games to take the lead. But Smith regained the advantage, 4-3, due to a double fault only for the former to take the last three games and win the break point in the 10th game to draw first blood.
The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar carried the momentum in the second set with a rousing 4-2 lead but the American never wavered and won two straight games, highlighted by an ace in the eighth game, to tie it to 4-all.
Eala displayed composure in the last two games to eliminate the gritty Smith in their second-round match.
The first Filipino to win a Grand Slam singles title is eyeing her second straight ITF championship and fourth overall pro in her 11th tournament this year.
Eala, currently ranked No. 266 in the Women’s Tennis Association, won her first two ITF titles in the past two years from the 2021 W15 Manacor and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.