Alex Eala won her first ever Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) main draw match with a comeback victory in the opening round of the Winners Open 2021 on Tuesday in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Eala, the World No. 639, won 7-5, 6-2 over qualifier Paula Ormaechea of Argentina. The 28-year-old Argentine, who was ranked 59th in the world in 2013, has 15 singles titles from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).
Eala, who has won one ITF singles championship in the W25 Manacor tournament, got off to a slow start, falling behind 4-0 to her opponent. The Filipino ace then came back to tie the game at 4-4 by winning the following four points.
Ormaechea broke serve, and Eala responded with a break after saving a set point with the Argentine on serve. At 5-5, the Filipino had a key hold of serve, and she secured three set points and the opening set with a forehand return of serve winner in the following game.
Eala maintained her momentum in the second set, taking a 5-1 lead. Ormaechea managed to break while serving for the set, falling behind 5-2. Eala secured a match point after forcing the eighth game to deuce.
Eala clinched the match with a strong forehand that forced an error from Ormaechea, whose netted return allowed Eala to win 6-2.
Eala will play World No. 119 Mayar Sherif of Egypt in the second round, after the Egyptian beat top seed and World No. 59 Alize Cornet of France, a former World No. 11.
The Winners Open named Eala as a wildcard recipient, calling the Filipino tennis ace and Rafa Nadal Academy learner “one of the most talented players in the new generations.”
With Oksana Selekhmeteva of Russia at Roland Garros 2021 and Priska Madelyn Nugroho of Indonesia in the 2020 Australian Open, the Juniors No. 2 has two grand slam titles in girls’ doubles.
She won the singles-doubles title at the JA Milan 61° Trofeo Bonfiglio in Italy in July, making it her second juniors singles-doubles win.
Prior to her wildcard for the Winners Open, Eala earned another big wildcard in March for the Miami Open qualifying draw, where she was eliminated in three sets in the first round.