Alex Eala starts campaign at Roland Garros

Published October 4, 2020, 12:48 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Photo from Alex Eala’s Facebook page

Filipino tennis phenom Alex Eala begins her French Open Juniors campaign Sunday when she clashes with Natalia Szabanin of Hungary in the first round.

This will be their first meeting in the history of their careers, with Eala, 15, boasting a second seeding against her 16-year-old foe.

Ranked No. 4 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Juniors, Eala seeks her second Grand Slam title after winning the 2020 Australian Open Junior doubles crown with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho.

A scholar of the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, Eala also hopes to surpass her third round finish at the 2020 Australian Open singles – her best Grand Slam finish in the singles event.

Szabanin, for her part, is competing in her first Grand Slam and is currently ranked No. 55.

The Hungarian last competed at the Mediterranee Avenir in Morocco last March – a tournament rated one rung below the Grand Slams – before it was suspended due to the pandemic.

Szabanin’s last singles title, however, came from a Grade 2 event in Lithuania last February.

The girls singles will have 2020 Australian Open Juniors champion and top seed Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva of Andorra, 2019 French Open quarterfinalist Elsa Jacquemot of France and ITF No. 8 Polina Kudermetova of Russia, to name a few.