Rafael Nadal, one of the world’s greatest tennis players with 20 Grand Slam wins and considered as the King of Clay with 13 French Open titles, praised Alex Eala for winning her her very first professional singles’ title in the International Tennis Federation’s (ITF) W15 Manacor tournament in Mallorca, Spain, Sunday.
“Congratulations @alex.eala for this important moment in your career. We are all very happy for you!” Nadal said.
Eala has been a scholar at Rafa Nadal Academy since 2018.
Philippine tennis sensation Eala bucked a sluggish start to beat veteran and local bet Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2, to capture her very first professional singles’ title.
One of the youngest to compete in the tournament at age 15, Eala showed exceptional poise beyond her years as she shrugged off the opening set loss and relentlessly battered her seasoned opponent in the next two sets to accomplish the best-ever result by a Filipina tennis player in an ITF event. This is just Eala’s second year on the professional circuit after an impressive run in the juniors competition.
The breakthrough win gave Eala a major boost in the world rankings as she improved to 942nd from 1,651st in the professional singles rankings of the ITF.
Nadal, who is currently ranked number 2 in the world, urged Eala to strive even further to get better as she competes professionally.
“Keep up the good work and attitude,” Nadal added.
Eala, who has been a Globe Ambassador since 2013, booted out several big names in the competition before clinching the title on Sunday. She kicked things off with a rousing 6-1, 6-2 straight sets win over fellow Rafael Nadal Academy scholar Anna Paradisi of Italy in the first round before coming up with a 6-4, 6-1 shock win over top-seeded Australian Seone Mendez in the second round.
She then gutted out a gritty 6-7, 7-6, 6-4 win over resilient French Carole Monnet in the quarterfinals and then, cruised past Adithya Karunaratne of Hong Kong, 6-3, 6-4 in the semifinals to set the stage for her title conquest against the 28-year old Cavalle-Reimers.
Eala is slated to compete in more tournaments while she continues to sharpen her skills under Nadal’s wings.PHOTO COURTESY of the Rafa Nadal Academy