By John Carlo Ayende

PHOTO: Rappler

Almost, but not quite.  

The 16-year-old Filipina tennis sensation Alex Eala fell short of advancing in the main draw of the W25 Manacor after suffering a 2-6, 4-6 defeat in the hands of top-seeded Alice Rame of France, January 18, in Manacor, Spain.

Eala is a win away from clinching a spot into the women’s $25,000 event of the Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour, but the fiery Rame ended her stint with a lopsided victory in the third round of the qualifiers. 

Right from the get-go, the 24-year-old Rame asserted her dominance after establishing an early 2-0 lead. Eala fought her way back to tie the knot at 2-2 apiece but the Filipina tennis star could not sustain her momentum as Rame sealed the first set with back-to-back aces.

Eala appeared to be in total control in the 2nd set after engineering a commanding 3-0 lead, not until the French star found her groove and owned the remainder of the set by winning five of the next six points to claim her ticket to the main draw. 

It was a sorry setback for Eala, who has not won a tournament since the 2021 French open girls doubles with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva. 

The Filipina tennis ace hopes to get another shot at a pro title since her title at the women’s $15,000 event of the Rafa Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour.