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Eala sets sights on Asian Games debut

Alex Eala staying right on course PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF FB/ALEX EALA |

Shortly after winning her third professional title, Alex Eala faces a bigger challenge as she competes in the 19th Asian Games.

Philippine Olympic Committee president Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino yesterday said that the 18-year-old netter already expressed her intention in the prestigious continental meet set from 23 September to 8 October in Hangzhou, China.

It’s going to be Eala’s first stint in the Asian Games.

She competed in the 31st Southeast Asian Games last year but settled for bronze medals after falling short in the women’s singles, women’s doubles and mixed doubles events.

Although the POC already announced that only the gold and silver medalists of the previous SEA Games in Phnom Penh will be given slots in the Asian Games, Eala is still tipped to make the cut for winning the women’s juniors doubles events of the French Open and Australian Open last year.

“I already put the name of Alex. She wants to play,” Tolentino said, adding that SEA Games gold medalists Frances Casey Alcantara and Ruben Gonzales will also be part of the Asian Games squad.

Tolentino added that the Asian Games will not be in conflict with her professional campaign as the 2023 Wimbledon Championship will be from 3 to 16 July at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Great Britain while the US Open will run from 28 August to 10 September at the Flushing Meadows in New York City.

Hopes are high on Eala.

In fact, Eala, a scholar of at the
world-famous Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy, downed the more experienced Valentina Ryser of Switzerland, 6-3, 7-5, in the final to win the title of the W25 Yecla women’s singles at the Yecla Club de Tennis in Spain last Sunday.

It was Eala’s third International Tennis Federation professional title after ruling the W15 Manacor in Spain in 2021 and the W25 Chiang Rai in Thailand last year.

“Smile, you’ve won another International Tennis Federation World Tour tournament. Congratulations on winning another championship, Alex Eala,” the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy posted on its official social media account.

But winning the title wasn’t easy for Eala, who missed out on qualifying for this year’s French Open and skipped the previous SEA Games last month.

First, the No. 266 netter in the latest Women’s Tennis Association ranking survived with a gritty 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 win over Katy Dunne of Great Britain in the Round of 32 before prevailing over Nahia Berecoechea of France, 3-6, 6-1, 6-1 in the Round of 16.

Then Eala swept Victoria Rodriguez of Mexico, 6-1, 6-3, in the quarterfinal and was able to pull off a 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win over Argentina’s Lucoa Peyre in the semifinal to book a place in the championship round.

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