By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Alex Eala survived American Elizabeth Mandlik, 7-5, 7-6 (3), and barged into the main draw round of the Guangzhou Open in China over the weekend.
The 18-year-old Eala had to dig deeper into her bag of tricks to outlast her more experienced rival and bolster her campaign in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) 250 event.
Eala actually needed to win two qualifying matches to make it to the main draw. Prior to her victory over Mandlik, she overcame the persistent attempts of Chinese Taipei’s Liang En-Shuo, 5-7, 6-1, 7-5, in the first qualifying match.
Up next for Eala is third seed Tatjana Maria of Germany, who is currently ranked No. 48 in the world.
This would be the third time that Eala and Maria will battling each, with the Filipino bet losing all their previous meetings.
They first clashed in the first round of the Thailand Open last January where Eala lost, 6-2, 6-2, and then faced each other once again in the opening round of the Mutua Madrid Open in Spain where the Filipina also yielded, 6-1, 6-1.
The Guangzhou Open will be Eala’s last tournament before she sees action in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where tennis competitions will start on Sept. 24 at the Hangzhou Sports Park Tennis Center.
She will join Southeast Asian Games doubles champions Ruben Gonzales and Francis Casey Alcantara in the team.