FILIPINO tennis ace Alex Eala’s groundbreaking year on the women’s tour continues as she is set to play in her first-ever $60,000 tournament in Switzerland next week.
Fifteen-year-old Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy scholar and long-time Globe ambassador, gained entry into the main draw of the International Tennis Federation (ITF)-sanctioned Bellinzona tournament in Switzerland happening from April 5 to 11.
It will be the first $60,000 tournament in her young career, which has taken an impressive ascent early in 2021.
The Bellinzona tournament comes on the heels of her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tournament debut last week at the Miami Open.
In Miami, Ms. Eala, ranked 737th in the world, played in the qualifiers but fell short against world no. 104 Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia (6-4, 4-6, 2-6).
She started the match strong against her older opponent, but could not sustain it the rest of the way en route to the defeat.
Despite the loss, Ms. Eala views her experience in Miami as something that would only serve to prepare her for the challenges ahead.
“It’s just an amazing experience. I am still in awe of the Miami Open experience,” she wrote on a Facebook post following her bid.
She went on to share that apart from playing, practicing with top WTA professionals at the Miami Open inspired her to continue working on her game and pursuing her tennis dreams.
Ms. Eala has racked up a 12-5 win loss slate in the WTA, while she holds a 17-9 overall record to include her matches in the ITF for the year.
She earned her first-ever singles title since turning professional when she ruled the opening leg of the Rafa Nadal Academy ITF World Tour in Mallorca, Spain, in January. Ms. Eala followed it up with three consecutive quarterfinal appearances in her next three tournaments. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo