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Alex makes heads turn anew

Alex Eala’s remained red-hot yesterday as she posted a 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 victory over Dalayna Hewitt of the United States in the first round of the W80 Rancho Santa Fe tournament at the Rancho Santa Fe Tennis Club in California.

But it took Eala, a 17-year-old scholar of the Rafael Nadal Academy in Majorca, Spain, two hours and 28 minutes to get the job done.

It was the longest match for Eala, who obviously struggled in disposing of the world No. 401 bet.

Ranked No. 281 in the world, Eala next faces Katherine Sebov of Canada, ranked just a notch higher than her.

Sebov made the next round after turning back Carol Zhao, 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, in a clash of Canadian entries.

In making the grade for the main draw, Eala had to whip Deniza Marcinkeva of Latvia, 6-1, 6-3, and Alana Smith of the US, 6-0, 6-0.

The US Open junior girls champion is aiming for her third professional title after victories in the W15 Manacor in Spain last year and the W25 Chiang Rai last April.

This is the second match for Eala on American soil after winning her first US Open title at Flushing Meadows in New York last month.

Eala is aiming to make it to the top 200 of the WTA rankings after her well-publicized US campaign.

She made it as far as the second round of the W60 Templeton in California last month.

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