Filipino tennis player Alexandra Eala has improved her International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior ranking to No. 152 after bagging two runner-up honors in India.

Eala defeated Kazakhstan’s Anastasia Astakhova, 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-1 in the semifinals but lost to Thailand’s Mai Napati Nirundorn, 6-2, 3-6, 2-6, in the finals of the DKS ITF Junior Championships held in Kolkata, India on Saturday.

She reached the semifinals after beating Hu Xinyue of China, 6-3, 6-1 in the first round; Federicca Sacco of Italy, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 (second round); and Chang Ting-Pei of Chinese Taipei, 6-3, 7-6 (2) in the quarterfinals.

The 13-year-old Eala also finished second at the India ITF Juniors Leg 2 in New Delhi last week, losing to Sacco, 5-7, 3-6 in the finals. ITF is the world governing body of tennis.

She eliminated No. 4 Han Jiangxue of China, 6-4, 7-5, (second round), No. 5 Lunda Kumhom of Thailand, 6-4, 7-5 (quarterfinal) and No. 1 Weronika Baszak of Poland, 6-2, 6-3 (semifinal).

As a member of the Asian 16 and Under Touring Team supported by the ITF and the Grand Slam Development Fund, Eala was required to compete in the Grade 2 events both held in India.

The other members of the team are Li Yu-Yun of Chinese Taipei, Meshkatolzahra Safi of Iran, Wang Xiaofei of China, Saud Alhaqbani of Saudi Arabia, Tim Thomas Gauntlett of Hong Kong and Credit Chaiyarin of Thailand.

Czarina Arevalo, herself a standout during her juniors and has represented the Philippines in the Southeast Asian Games, Asian Games and Fed Cup, was appointed by the Asian Tennis Federation to coach the girls while Kumar Mahajan of India mentored the boys.

Being named to the Asian 16 and Under Team was another feather in the cap for Eala, who will turn 14 on May 23.

Last year, she was granted a scholarship to train at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Spain and study at the American International School of Mallorca, which is inside the academy. She is in Grade 8.

Eala kicked off her 2018 campaign by joining and winning the prestigious Les Petits As (small champions in English) tournament for players 12 to 14 years old in Tarbes, France in January. She is the first wild card champion in the tournament’s 36-year-old history.

Eala’s victory at Les Petits As earned her a wild card in the Qualifying of the French Open Juniors in May. She made it to the final qualifying round.

From July to August, Eala won both singles and doubles at the Category 1 events in Hasselt (Belgium) and Oosterbeck (Netherlands) as well as the singles and doubles at a Category 2 event in Nantes (France).

Eala was awarded the 2018 Overseas Player of the Year in the girls division by Tennis Europe “for her massive impact on the Tennis Europe Junior Tour”.

She has played in the ITF Juniors Circuit events in Alicante, Spain (singles and doubles champions), Manila (first leg champion and second leg runner-up) and Indonesia (runner-up). (PNA)



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