Filipina tennis sensation and Globe ambassador Alex Eala showed sheer determination as she upended Spanish rival Alba Carrillo Marin in a thrilling three-set encounter, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, in the opening round of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour W25 Platja D’Aro in Spain on Wednesday night.
It was a back-and-forth match that saw both players show their familiarity with one another after already clashing twice in the pro circuit. When the dust settled, however, it was the Filipina powerhouse that grabbed the victory after a whopping three hours and nine minutes to earn a spot in the second round where she will take on another Spaniard in Irene Burillo Escorihuela, who is the no. 265 ranked player in the Women’s Tennis Association singles rankings.
The opening set saw Marin surge ahead, 2-0, but Eala gathered her bearings and won five of the next six games to move closer to capturing the first set at 5-3. Despite Marin’s best efforts to stay alive in the first set, Eala was able to close it out, 6-3, thanks to a powerful backhand shot.
Marin, though, refused to give in as she started the second set much in the same way that she began the first, moving ahead, 3-1. But the resilient Eala came back once again and tied the game at 4-4. After both players held serve in the next two games, Marin eventually broke through and claimed the second set, 7-5, to send the match to a deciding third set.
The final set was a nip-and-tuck encounter that stayed tied at 5-5. Eala then found the edge she was looking for as she broke Marin’s serve to move ahead, 6-5, before winning the final game to put the match on ice, 7-5.
Eala is in for a very hectic week as she is also competing in the doubles tournament with Russian partner, Oksana Selekhmeteva.
Eala, a long-time Globe ambassador, is looking to clinch her second professional title after she opened this year with a championship in the first leg of the W15 Manacor back in January.