Alex Eala punches PH's first-ever ticket to US Open final

By Ignacius Carell Cruz

It just keeps getting better and better for the teen sensation Alex Eala.

The 17-year-old Filipina tennis prodigy smashes through her and the country’s first-ever grand slam final after defeating the No. 9 seed Victoria Mboko of Canada, 6-1, 7-6(5) in the semifinals of the US Open junior singles at the USTA Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York City, on Friday.

Photo Courtesy of BusinessMirror

It was a wonderful start for the two-time Junior Grand Slam doubles champion after crushing Mboko in the opening set, 6-1, where she displayed the months of experience she gained from the professional circuit by forcing her Canadian foe into multiple errors and electric forehands and backhands to seal the deal.

However, Mboko, who made the semifinals of the Wimbledon junior singles and the doubles finals of both the Australian Open and Wimbledon this year, showed why she is also one of the up-and-coming stars in tennis by keeping in step with Eala in the second set.

The Rafael Nadal Academy scholar was able to successfully climb back from a 3-1 deficit after a forehand winner and holding serve in the sixth game via a backhand shot of Mboko.

The 16-year-old Canadian then gave Eala a huge scare by almost sending the match to a deciding third and final set after holding serve in the 11th game.

Eala refused to concede the succeeding game where she blanked Mboko in her service game to tie the set at 6-all.

The World No. 297 went neck-and-neck in the tiebreaker with Mboko but the Filipina netter was able to gain a 6-4 advantage after a forehand winner and a backhand error from the Canadian.

Mboko was able to preempt the celebration after saving one match point but a costly double fault from her ultimately gave Eala the much-deserved spot in the final.

Eala will then square off with Czech Republic’s No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) where she will look to add a grand slam title to her already stacked resume.

Havlickova breezed through the semifinals after exercising her mastery over her doubles teammate and No. 7 seed Diana Schneider in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4.


Edited by Quian Vencel Galut
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