Rising tennis star Alex Eala turned in one stunning performance after another at the W60 Bellinzona tournament in Switzerland, reaching the third round before falling to familiar foe Simona Waltert in three sets. The International Tennis Federation (ITF)-sanctioned meet was the first-ever $60,000 tournament in Eala’s young and bright professional career.
The 15-year-old tennis ace and Globe ambassador gave the higher-ranked Waltert all she could handle throughout the two-hour long battle, but ultimately lost to the Swiss player, 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, in the Thursday afternoon match.
Eala knocked off Margot Yerolymos of France in the first round of Bellinzona, and easily handled the more experienced Laura Ioana-Paar of Romania in the second round, before losing to Waltert in the Round of 16. The Filipina qualified for the prestigious W60 tourney through the junior exempt program, being the world no. 3 at the ITF Juniors level.
Her deep run in the W60 tournament bodes well for her Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings moving forward. From no. 737 last month, Eala jumped to a high of no. 715 based on the updated WTA rankings released this week. She began the year at no. 1190 but continues to rise up rapidly in the pro ranks.
The Rafa Nadal Academy scholar won her first professional singles title at W15 Manacor in Mallorca, Spain in January. She then recorded three consecutive quarter-final appearances in her next three tournaments.