Eala back in top form, whips foe

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    TEEN tennis sensation Alex Eala was back in top form last Wednesday night, breezing past Spain’s Ana Antiga dela Nuez 6-0, 6-2 in the opening round of the third leg of the International Tennis Federation Rafa Nadal Academy competition in Mallorca, Spain.

    Playing in familiar surroundings, Eala lost no time in polishing off her Spanish rival in around 30 minutes to advance to the second round against German giant-killer Silvia Ambrosio, who stunned French top seed Margot Yerolymos 6-4, 6-3.

    Thanks to clinching her first pro title in the first leg of the ITF World Women’s Tour competition three weeks ago, the pretty Filipina southpaw has soared up the Women’s Tennis Association and ITF world rankings at No. 619 and No. 52, respectively.

    Eala certainly lived up to her billing against the hometown bet, who is No. 942 and 1679 in the WTA and ITF ratings, respectively, in the first set, gaining service breaks in the second and fourth games.

    Nuez put up semblance of a fight early in the second set against her Filipina foe, who was broken in the first game after battling through four deuces in the $15,000 event.

    But Eala countered with a service break of her own in the second to knot the count at 1-all then broke Nuez anew in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.

    She won most of her points on her first serve, netting 17 out of a possible 24 points for a high 71 percent clip in contrast to Nuez’s 48 percent norm (48 percent).

    Currently rated No. 1125 in the WTA rankings, Ambrosio, 24, is a familiar fixture on the ITF circuit and was a losing semifinalist twice in two of its events in 2020.