Alexandra Eala Becomes First Filipino to Bag Junior Grand Slam Singles Title at U.S. Open

The Quezon City-born tennis prodigy continues to dazzle.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

For the first time ever, a Filipino has captured the Grand Slam singles title at the junior level. Alexandra Eala just beat reigning French Open girls' champion Lucie Havlickova, 6-2, 6-4, at the 2022 U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

The number ten-ranked Eala defeated the number two-ranked Czech superstar in 68 minutes of action to complete the Cinderella finish. After starting off 1-2 in the opening set, Eala had won five straight games to take control early on. Havlickova would gain a 4-3 lead late before the Filipino tennis prodigy seized the next three games, leading 40-15 in the decisive last and 10th game.

“Buong puso ko itong ipinaglaban, hindi lang para sa sarili ko kundi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine tennis. So hindi lang ‘to panalo ko, panalo natin ‘to,” Eala said during the trophy presentation.

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At the age of 17, Eala has grown to be one of tennis' youngest and most dynamic stars. The Quezon City-born tennis phenom had drawn scouts from the Rafa Nadal Academy in Manacor, Spain a while back. Eventually, she would relocate overseas to train. She spent the past year playing in the pro level, which had her defeating the likes of Nina Vargova and Annabelle Xu, among others.

Eala made her junior debut at the 2019 U.S. Open at the age of 14, advancing to the second round of the tourney. In 2020, she had even ranked number two worldwide at the prestigious ITF Junior Circuit. In the 2020 French Open, she played in the girls' singles semifinals. A year later, she reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

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The tennis star captured her second pro title in Thailand back in April. Last May, she bagged three bronze medals from the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. She had also racked in two Grand Slam titles in the doubles tourney. 

Eala currently ranks 297th worldwide in the Women’s Tennis Association.

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