DISPLAYING precocious poise, Alex Eala rallied from a set down to beat Spanish veteran Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 to rule the International Tennis Federation Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis tour event last Sunday night in Mallorca, Spain, her first victory as a pro.
Unfazed by her first-set loss, the left-handed Eala cranked up her game in the next two to dismantle Reimers, a winner of six ITF titles, in just over two hours.
The French Open juniors’ semifinalist showed resiliency after losing the last three games in the first set and stormed past Reimers to cap her Cinderella run on her home court to secure her first 100 points as a pro.
The breakthrough victory boosted Eala’s standing in the world rankings as she improved to 942 from 1,651 in the professional singles rankings of the ITF. She also won $15,000.
The Rafa Nadal Academy protégé was celebrated by the tennis school owned by the Spanish tennis superstar, tweeting: “Vamooos!! @alex.eala PH (15 years old) has won her first professional tournament at the @itftennis by @igesespana Great comeback 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 against Yvonne Cavalle! Congratulations!”
Nadal, one of the world’s greatest tennis players with 20 Grand Slam wins and considered as the King of Clay with 13 French Open titles, praised Eala for her feat, saying: “Congratulations @alex.eala for this important moment in your career. We are all very happy for you!”
Eala has been a scholar at the Rafa Nadal Academy since 2018.
“Keep up the good work and attitude,” Nadal added.
Along the way, Eala stunned Australian top seed Seone Mendez 6-4, 6-1 in the second round then outdueled No. 5 seed Carole Monnet 6-7, 7-6 (6-4), 6-1 in the quarterfinals.
She booked a title showdown with Reimers, 28, after subduing Hong Kong qualifier Adithya Karunaratne 6-3, 6-4 in the semis. – Bong Pedralvez