Tenth-seed Alex Eala scored a landmark win yesterday after downing Canadian ninth pick Victoria Mboko, 6-1, 7-6, in the semifinal round of the US Open girls tournament at Flushing Meadows in New York.
The victory pushed Eala to a clash with Lucie Havlikova of the Czech Republic, the No. 2 seed, in a bid to carve a name in Grand Slam singles play after winning twice in doubles in the Australian Open and French Open.
The 17-year-old Eala’s demolition of Mboko took an hour and 21 minutes.
The last time a Filipino made strides in a Grand Slam tournament was during the 1985 Wimbledon when Felix Barrientos made it to the boys’ singles semifinal round.
Also in the 1952 edition of the US Open, Felicisimo Ampon reached the 4th round of men’s play.
In topping the 2020 Australian Open, Eala teamed up with Priska Nugroho of Indonesia. In the French Open the following year, Eala joined hands with Oksana Selekgmeteva of Russia.
If victorious at Flushing Meadows, it will be Eala’s fifth singles title.
“Isa pa (one more),” Eala wrote in her social media page.
The road to the US Open final match began with a bang.
In the first round, Eala slammed Annabelle Xu of Canada, 6-3, 6-0 before blowing past Nina Vargovia of Slovakia, 6-2, 6-3, in the secede round.
Then came Eala’s upset of eight-seed Taylah Preston of Australia, 6-2, 7-6 in the third.
In the quarterfinal phase, Eala destroyed Mirra Andrea of Russia, 6-4, 6-0, to arrange a semis shootout with Mboko.
In last year’s US Open, Eala only made it as far as the quarterfinal, prompting her to campaign elsewhere.
Last April, Eala captured top honors in the W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand and in the Hanoi Southeast Asian Games, she bagged bronzes in the singles, mixed and doubles.
In the W60 final of Madrid last June, Eala made it to the final.