By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
Filipino tennis wunderkind Alex Eala advanced to her fourth straight professional quarterfinal stint after defeating Spain’s Cristina Bucsa, 2-6, 6-3 and 7-6 (10-8), in the second round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) W25 Grenoble Tournament in France on Thursday (Manila time).
Rafa Nadal Academy scholar and Globe ambassador Eala bucked a rough opening set to charge back and claim the victory in the match which lasted for two hours and 33 minutes.
The Filipino tennis ace struggled to get her game going in the first set, marked by three double faults which the seventh-seeded Bucsa capitalized on to race to the early match lead.
But 15-year-old Eala steadied in the second set, showing more control to get the better of her opponent and level the count to force a deciding set.
In the decider, Eala trailed early, 2-3, but dug deep in the next two games to overtake Ms. Bucsa, 4-3.
The two battled it out the rest of the way but Eala just had more to give in the end and win the tiebreaker, 10-8.
The win came on the heels of Eala’s impressive opening match victory over Romanian Laura-Ioana Paar on Tuesday.
The W25 Grenoble Tournament is the fourth straight professional tournament Eala is competing in after seeing in the three legs of the ITF W15 Manacor Tournament in Spain previously.
The third-ranked juniors player in the world, Eala earned a slot in the tournament through the junior exempt program of the ITF, which gives top-ranked juniors players the chance to compete in a set number of professional tournaments every year.
Her juniors ranking lets her compete in three $25,000 and two $60,000 pro events this year.
Eala is now awaiting her opponent in the quarterfinals between Maja Chwalinska of Poland and Gaelle Desperrier of France.