By Kristel Satumbaga
Rising star Alex Eala got a much-needed boost in her much-awaited debut at the Miami Open after practicing with reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek.
The Rafa Nadal Academy where Eala, 15, has been a scholar for the past years shared Eala’s experience with the world No. 16 Polish superstar in a social media post Monday
“Thanks for the practice @iga.swiatek! Alex Eala is ready for her first WTA tournament! VAMOS!” the photo caption read.
Swiatek took the 2020 French Open by storm by beating Sofia Kenin to become the lowest-ranked player to win the event since rankings were introduced in 1975.
Then ranked No. 54 in the Women’s Tennis Association, Swiatek also became the lowest-ranked player to win a Grand Slam since Sloane Stephens in the 2017 US Open and the first Polish player, male or female, to win a Grand Slam singles title.
Eala, who earned a wildcard berth in this tournament, is expected to use the practice session as a morale-booster heading to her first match in the qualifying round, where she will be facing Slovakia’s Viktoria Kuzmova early Tuesday, March 23 (Manila time).
Kuzmova is currently ranked No. 104, having won 14 International Tennis Federation (ITF) titles and three WTA crowns. She also made it to the third round of the 2019 French Open.
Eala won her first pro title last January in the W15 Manacor tournament.