STREAKING tennis phenom Alex Eala stunned Swedish No. 2 seed Mirjam Bjorklund 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 last Wednesday night for a rousing start in the second leg of the International Tennis Federation Rafael Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour in Mallorca, Spain.
Four days after ruling the first leg of the series on her home court for her first professional win, Eala, 15, claimed the scalp of Bjorklund, currently ranked No. 350 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings with six ITF titles under her belt.
It was the sixth straight victory for the pretty Filipina southpaw, and she hopes to keep her run going against hometown bet Alba Carillo Marin, ranked No. 547 in the WTA ratings, in pursuit of her second pro plum in the $15,000 competition.
In a keenly-contested duel, Eala set the tone in the first set by breaking Bjorklund in the second game on the way to a 5-1 lead, but the Swede bounced back in the seventh and ninth games to make it 4-5.
Eala, however, broke back in the 10th game to seal the set.
She was broken in the fifth and seven games of the second set as Bjorklund bounced back and leveled the score at one set apiece.
The Rafa Nadal Academy protégé survived a tense first game in the deciding set, grimly battling through five deuces before holding serve.
With the score tied at 2-all in the last set, Eala surged to a 4-2 edge after breaking Bjorklund in the sixth game before her rival countered with a break of her own to make it 3-4 after seven games.
The 2020 French Open juniors semifinalist won the last two games to advance to the second round against Marin.