We’re now on the second week of the US Open and headlines have been abuzz. Serena Williams loses in the third round, Nick Kyrgios heads to the quarterfinals, will Rafael Nadal reach 23 Grand Slam wins? Undoubtedly, there’s a lot of hype packed into a short two weeks over in New York City. Including the Philippines’ rising tennis star Alex Eala.
While the seniors’ tournament is already onto the quarterfinals stage, the juniors’ has just begun. Just yesterday, Alex Eala set foot in the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center for her first-round match against Canadian player Annabelle Xu.
Eala enters the tournament as the 10th seed out of the 64 players, and she definitely proved why. She breezed past the unseeded Canadian in two quick sets. In an hour and 17 minutes, the Filipina won 6-3, 6-0.
It’s a good start for Eala. She has been spending time competing on the pro circuit rather than in the juniors’ tournaments, but the experience she has gained in winning titles should prove to be valuable to her on the US Open court.
As the girls’ tournament has just begun, here are her two upcoming matches.
Having defeated Xu just yesterday, Alex Eala will be competing in her second-round match. She will be facing Slovakian player Nina Vargova. Similar to Eala, Vargova also won her first-round match in two sets, 6-0, 7-6.
Though she is unseeded, 16 years old, Vargova has been climbing up the junior rankings over the last couple of years. In 2020, she finished the year ranked 615, but in 2021, she jumped up to 95. Now, going into the second round of the US Open Juniors Tournament, she is ranked 28th in the world.
Meanwhile, the Filipina has been spending time improving her professional WTA ranking, where she is currently at 290 in the world. On the ITF Junior Ranking, on the other hand, she is ranked 169th due to her inactivity in junior tournaments.
Like her previous competitor Xu, Vargova is also unseeded in the tournament. And with Eala’s experience on the professional circuit, as well as her rank, she’ll be coming into the match favored to win.
The two youngsters are scheduled to face each other tomorrow at around 1:00 AM Philippine time. It will be their first time competing against one another.
Alex Eala will also be competing in the junior doubles tournament at the US Open. Tomorrow, at the round of 32, she is partnering with 15-year-old Mirra Andreeva. This won’t be the first time the two players share a court, however, as they have actually competed against one another before.
Last year at the semifinals round of the girls’ singles main draw of Trofeo Bonfiglio in Milan, Italy, Eala beat Andreeva in two sets, 7-5, 6-2. Eala went on to win the tournament both the singles and doubles titles. But now on the ITF Junior Rankings, the Russian is more highly ranked. Andreeva is currently 18th in the world.
Now, as the two share the same side of the court, they will be facing unseeded American duo Shannon Lam and Iva Jović.
Both only 14 years old, Lam is ranked 395th on the ITF Junior Rankings, and Jović is ranked 130th. But with Andreeva’s high junior ranking and Eala’s professional experience, the pair come into the match as the fourth seed in the junior tournament.
Alex Eala is no stranger to the juniors Grand Slam stage. She competed in the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open and on both occasions, won the doubles title. With the wins, she officially became the Philippines’ first Grand Slam winner.
And although she is still yet to win her first junior singles Grand Slam title, she has won multiple professional titles on the ITF tour, and we hope her experiences take shape in her upcoming performances.
Eala is truly the Philippines’ tennis queen at the moment, and we are so here for it. To catch more of the US Open, you can tune into SPOTV on SKY Cable and Cignal TV, or on their app on Google Play and the App Store.