To be frank, open tennis is not exactly a sport that sees Filipino players consistently excelling in. The few times a tennis ace from the Philippines actually makes good showing against foreign opponents are more like flashes in the pan and not likely to be sustainable. But when a Filipino makes a mark on a worldwide-level tennis court, that one is sure to catch a lot of attention. The 2020 Australian Open is now headed towards its final matches for singles and doubles titles for both genders and across age groups. But this Friday a powerful teen girl has proven Pinoys can win Tennis Majors.
Inquirer.net has it that the Girls’ Doubles tournament in the 2020 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia ended in victory for 14-year-old Alexandra “Alex” Eala of the Philippines and her Indonesian partner Priska Madelyn Nugroho. The finals for Girls’ Doubles, held this January 31, saw Eala and Nugroho pitted against the doubles team of Slovenian Ziva Falkner and Briton Matilda Mutavdzik. The other pair never stood a chance as the Filipina-Indonesian tandem shut them out in two sets, 6-1 and 6-2, to claim the championship title for Girls’ Doubles, for junior-aged players listed in the ITF.
When the Australian Open Girls’ Doubles defending champions Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Adrien Nagy of Hungary did not compete (Nagy having outgrown the Junior category and Kawaguchi opting not to play without her partner), the way was open for a new doubles tennis champion for girls. The Eala-Nugroho tandem was seeded fourth, and made short work of opposing doubles comprising players from France, Russia and the Ukraine, before taking on Myadzik and Falkner in the finals. In this achievement, Eala has won for the Philippines its first Tennis Major title in quite some time.
It was some 11 years ago, back in 2009, when Filipino tennis player Francis Casey Alcantara won the championship for the Australian Open Boys’ Doubles alongside his partner from Chinese Taipei, Hsieh Chen-peng. By her joint triumph this Friday, Alex Eala saw her Junior-level ranking in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) jump all the way to Number 9 in the world. It is not bad for a scholar of the tennis academy of Rafael Nadal, and payback of sorts for the sake of her teacher who seeded out Wednesday, January 29, losing to Dominic Thiem.
Image courtesy of ABS-CBN News