By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
THANKS to her impressive run in the recently concluded French Open juniors tournament where she reached the semifinals, young Filipino tennis ace Alex Eala saw her rankings climb to a career-best to date number two.
In the latest update of its world tennis tour juniors rankings, the International Tennis Federation (ITF) now has Eala, 15, second with 2148.75 points, just a rung below currently top-ranked Elsa Jacquemot of France (2261.25).
It was a two-spot climb for Globe Telecom ambassador Eala, who was ranked fourth in the world entering Roland Garros.
The ascent was a continuation of the steady rise of Eala, a scholar of the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain, in the sport in the last three years.
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 fourth.
In January, she won the 2020 Australian Open juniors doubles title with partner Priska Nugroho of Indonesia, becoming in the process the first Filipina to win a grand slam title, be it in juniors or seniors play.
“#2 World ITF Girls Junior Ranking! Happy with my performance and thank you again for all your support! It has truly been an amazing week!” wrote Eala on her official Facebook page upon learning of the latest ITF rankings.
Eala, hailing from Quezon City, had it eventful at the French Open.
She reached the Final Four before losing to now-world number one and eventual champion Jacquemot, 3-6, 2-6.
But despite falling short in her Roland Garros quest, Eala said it was a journey full of lessons which she intends to use in continuing to build up her game.
She cited “mental toughness” as key moving forward.
“Your mentality is really what differentiates you from your opponents. In a tournament like this (French Open), skill levels are very much the same. It’s really a matter of who can sustain it more,” Eala said.
Behind Eala in the latest world rankings is former number one Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra (2023.75), followed by Diane Parry of France (1967.5) and Daria Snigur of Ukraine (1930).
Completing the top 10 are Russia’s Polina Kudermetova (1828.75), USA’s Robin Montgomery (1667.5), Germany’s Alexandra Vecic (1457.5), Belarus’ Kristina Dmitruk (1454.25), and USA’s Alexa Noel (1452.5).