FILIPINA tennis prodigy and Globe Ambassador Alex Eala failed to advance in the quarterfinals of the Las Palmas de Gran Canaria tournament in Spain after yielding to Lara Salden of Belgium in three sets.
Eala lost in the second round of the tournament, 6-0, 2-6, 6-2 after booting out number 8 seed Francesca Jones of Great Britain in the opening round.
The 15-year-old Filipina, however, couldn’t sustain the momentum against the Belgian who is 246th in the Women’s Tennis Association world rankings and coming off from a win in the Lousada Indoor Open in Portugal two weeks ago.
Salden broke Eala thrice in the opening set to take the lead but Eala came back roaring in the second set to take the match into a decider.
Salden, who is six years older than Eala and a regular campaigner in the women’s tour, leaned on her experience to seize a 3-0 lead in the final set.
Eala was able to hold serve in the fourth frame to cut Salden’s lead to 3-1.
Salden eventually held on to eliminate Eala out of the tournament with a 6-2 score in the decider.
The Rafa Nadal Academy (RNA) scholar was the first Filipina tennis player to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam juniors tournament when she reached the final four of the 2020 French Open in Paris last month.
Due to her stellar run in the Roland Garros tournament, she rose to the number two spot in the Junior ITF world rankings, the highest-ever achieved by a Filipina in the history of the sport.
She reached the semifinals of the girls’ tournament of the 2020 French Open in Roland Garros last month.
Early this year, she won the girl’s double title of the 2020 Australian Open.
Eala has been a Globe Ambassador since 2016.