Alex Eala is now an ITF World Tour Champion.
The 15-year-old Filipina rallied back to bag her first-ever ITF Women’s World Tour title over hometown darling Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, Sunday evening (Philippine time) at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain.
With her solid service game in the succeeding two sets, Eala pocketed the US$2,352 (P113,047.47) prize over her 28-year-old opponent.
The win also gave her additional WTA points that will boost her current rank at 1187th.
The Filipina had to reach for a shot at the net to take the crucial break of serve in the third set and the lead at 4-1, despite the Spaniard questioning the call. From there, Eala never looked back and closed the match with a solid return to Cavalle-Reimer’s body that the latter failed to hit cleanly, to seal her place in history.
The win can be considered a huge upset as the Spaniard also ranks 697 places higher at 490th and 13 years older than the Eala.
The 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles champion struggled with her serve at the onset, but fortunately, she was able to trade service breaks with the older Spaniard before yielding the solitary service hold to Cavalle-Reimers.
Eala, nonetheless, got her groove in the following frames, combining solid baseline hitting and aggressive net approaches to eventually take the match.
Eala was dominant in the second set as she also challenged Cavalle-Reimers to cover both sides of the court. For her part, Eala showed her agility after going all over the place, hitting shots from all directions.
The 2020 French Open quarterfinalist earlier took down fellow 15-year-old in Italian Anna Paradisi and top-seeded Seone Mendez of Australia in the first two rounds. She then moved into the final after wins over fifth-seed Frenchwoman Carole Monnet in a marathon match and a dominant semis win over Hong Kong’s Adithya Karunaratne.
Eala is expected to participate in the succeeding legs of the tour and continue her undefeated run for the year at 5-0, in the same venue depending on the decision of her coaches.