Filipino tennis phenom Alex Eala recovered from an opening-set loss before stunning world no. 132 Yvonne Cavalle-Reimers of Spain, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 in the finals of the Rafael Nadal Academy World Tennis Tour in Manacor, Spain to win her first-ever International Tennis Federation’s singles' professional title.
Ranked 1,180th in the world, the 15-year-old Fillipina became the first-ever tennis player from the Philippines to win an ITF professional singles' title in the history of the sport.
The win, however, didn’t come easy as Eala had to overcome a more experienced player and a 13-year age difference against the Spanish bet. Cavalle-Reimers is currently ranked 132nd in the ITF and 490th in the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) world rankings.
Eala, a scholar at the Rafa Nadal Academy, is the number 3 junior player in the ITF.
Eala broke Cavalle-Reimers' service right in the first frame of the opening set to go one up but her Spanish rival returned the favor to tie the game at 1-all. Neither player had the opportunity to hold her serve in the next eight frames. Eala was up 5-4 and only needed to hold her serve to win the opening set but Cavalle-Reimers rallied to win the next three games to take the first set, 7-5.
In the second set, Eala, a Globe Ambassador since 2016, jumped to an early 3-0 lead after holding her serve for the first time in the match and by breaking Cavalle-Reimers’ serve twice.
Cavalle-Reimers, who reached a career best 334th in the world rankings took the 4th frame by breaking Eala again to cut her lead to 3-1 but the Pinoy pride came back in the next three frames to take the set, 6-1 and extend the match to a decider.
In the third set, both players broke each other in the first two frames for a 1-all score.
Eala held her serve twice and broke her opponent’s serve for the 11th time to lead at 4-1. Cavalle-Reimers, however, refused to give up to cut Eala’s lead to 4-2.
It proved to be the Spanish last stand as Eala took the next two frames to win the set, 6-2 and the match.
“We would like to congratulate Alex on her historic win. Indeed, it is very refreshing to watch the young Filipina triumph on the global sports stage. We are very proud of Alex and we look forward to seeing her again in her future matches,” said Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO.