Tennis: Alex Eala blasts into W60 Templeton 2nd round


Filipino tennis player Alex Eala at the US Open Juniors. Photo courtesy of Alex Eala on Facebook.

Reigning US Open girls’ singles champion Alexandra “Alex” Eala continued to be in fine form on the professional circuit, whipping out a 6-0, 6-0 win over Shavit Kimchi of Israel in the first round of the W60 Templeton in California.

Eala, the 17-year-old WTA World No. 291 with a career-high of World No. 280, received a wild card from the $60,000 event on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Women’s World Tennis Tour.

WTA World No. 453 Kimchi, 20, made it to the main draw after winning two qualifying matches.

Their Wednesday evening match at Templeton Tennis Ranch saw Eala capturing the first set in 19 minutes without facing a break point.

She opened the match with a love service hold sealed with a forehand winner, then followed it up with a love service break concluded by a forehand crosscourt winner.

She repeated the love service hold in the fifth game by firing an ace to be at 5-0, then broke serve for the third time, 6-0, by forcing a long backhand from Kimchi.

The first deuce of the match happened in the second game of the second set with Eala on serve, but she managed to hold to 2-0 with back-to-back winners.

Eala carried on with her winning ways, taking a 5-0 lead two inches closer to victory.

With Kimchi serving to stay in the match, the Israeli advanced to 40-30, but Eala forced the game to deuce, earned two match points, and marched on to the second round, 6-0, courtesy of a Kimchi double fault.

Eala, the first Filipino to win a junior singles grand slam title earlier this month, will next face No. 7 seed Katarzyna Kawa of Poland.

The 29-year-old Polish WTA World No. 163 outlasted WTA World No. 262 Renata Zarazua of Mexico in the first round, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

In doubles contention, Eala and Alice Robbe of France attempted to stage a comeback in the first round, but were ousted by Americans Madison Brengle and Whitney Osuigwe, 6-7(3), 6-3, 6-10.

Eala, a Rafa Nadal Academy player, has won two professional titles on the ITF Tour: the 2021 W15 Manacor in Spain and 2022 W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand.

In June, she reached her first W60 final in Madrid where she lost to home bet Marina Bassol’s Ribera in straight sets.

Aside from her historic US Open girls’ singles championship, the former ITF Juniors World No. 2 has two girls’ doubles slam titles from the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 Roland Garros.

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