By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
YOUNG Filipino tennis star Alex Eala was to begin her 2020 French Open juniors tournament campaign on Sunday night (Manila time) at Roland Garros in Paris, France, where she hopes to pick up from her winning ways early this year before the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the tennis season.
Eala, 15, and Globe ambassador since 2013, captured the 2020 Australian Open juniors’ double events with partner Priska Nugroho of Indonesia in January. She was looking forward to building on it, but the pandemic and the subsequent postponement of events did not allow her to.
Entering this year’s French Open, Eala, seeded second in the tournament, was out to get back on a roll and continue her ascent in the sport.
“Thank you for your messages. The draws are out and I play fourth match on Court 4… I think I’m the only Asian in the draw. Laban! Vamos! Allez!” Eala excitedly wrote on a Facebook post as she prepared for her first match.
The Filipino, who is based right now in Mallorca, Spain, as a scholar of the Rafa Nadal Academy, was to meet Natalia Szabanin of Hungary late on Sunday.
A victory there would send her to the second round where she would take on the winner between Sarah Illiev of France and Mara Guth of Germany.
Eala is currently ranked fourth in the world and is the youngest among the current top 50 junior tennis players.
In 2018, Eala was ranked 248 in the world. She continued to work on her game and made waves after and climbed to 11th by the end of 2019.
Early this year she cracked the top 10, climbing to fifth then to where she is now at fourth.
By winning the Australian Open juniors title, Eala made history by becoming the first Filipina to win a grand slam title, be it in juniors or seniors play.
Since she was eight years old, Globe has been supporting Eala in her tennis pursuit.