Alex Eala at the 2019 US Open. Sergio Llamera/ITF (file photo)
By Kristoffer Ed Bellen
MANILA—Fourth-seed Alex Eala overwhelmed top seed Linda Fruhvirtova of Czech Republic, 6-3, 6-3, to hoist the first ever girls' singles championship trophy at the inaugural International Tennis Federation (ITF) JA Cape Town (GA) Under-18 event at Cape Town, South Africa last Sept. 16-22.
Eala, who participated in her second tournament after a satisfying round of 32 run in the recently concluded US Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, never dropped a single set in the course of the whole tournament and only gave up eight games before collecting a hard-fought 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Matilda Mutavdzic in the semifinals.
Eala, 14, became the biggest mover in the ITF Girls Juniors world rankings released this week, elevating 66 spots to become the youngest player inside the Top 50 and record a career-high girls' singles rank of number 26 with a total of 990 ranking points.
Backed by the Rafa Nadal Academy, Eala will now also become the fourth best Asian female juniors' player behind China's Qinwen Zheng, Natsuma Kawaguchi of Japan, and Park Soh Yun of South Korea in the ITF World Juniors' rankings.
Earlier last week, Eala and her US Open girls' doubles partner Elvina Kalieva also reached the semifinals in the girls' doubles before bowing down against eventual champions Ziva Falkner and Mutavdzic in two heart-breaking tiebreaker sets, 6-7(3) 6-0 [8-10].
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