By Kristel Satumbaga
Philippines’ top junior netter Alex Eala and Indonesian Priska Madelyn Nugroho trounced Slovenia’s Ziva Falkner and Great Britain’s Matilda Mutavdzic 6-1, 6-2 on Friday to capture the Australian Open Junior Championships girls doubles title in Melbourne.
Eala and Nugroho, seeded fourth in the tournament, needed only 49 minutes in dispatching their rivals.
The won four break points out of nine and had 18 winners.
The feat made Eala, 14, the second Filipino to win a Grand Slam title after former top junior player Francis Casey Alcantara, who captured the boys doubles crown at the 2009 Australian Open Junior Championships with Taiwanese partner Hsieh Cheng-peng.
It was also her first Grand Slam title since debuting at the 2019 US Open.
Eala and Nugroho threaded through the eye of the needle, dropping four sets throughout the tournament including their opening-round victory over Elina Avenesyan of Russia and Ukraine’s Liubov Kostenko 7-5, 4-6, 10-8.
They also picked up a second-set scare in surviving Julie Belgraver of France and Slovenia’s Pia Lovric in the second round 6-2, 4-6, 11-9, before besting seventh seed Aubane Droguet and Selena Janicijevic of France 7-6 (2), 6-2 in the quarterfinal.
Eala and Nugroho further bolstered their campaign with a stunning 1-6, 7-5, 10-8 win over top seed Kamilla Bartone of Latvia and Linda Fruhvirtova of Czech Republic en route to their final victory.
Both Eala and Nugroho’s International Tennis Federation junior rankings are expected to shot up from Nos. 9 and 27, respectively.