Alex Eala books semis seat in French Open Juniors

Published October 8, 2020, 9:37 PM

by Kristel Satumbaga-Villar

Alex Eala becomes the first Filipina to make it to the Grand Slam semifinals after a three-set victory against her Czech foe. (From Roland Garros website)

Comeback queen.

Alex Eala recovered from a slow start and bested Linda Noskova of Czech Republic, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, to book a semifinal berth in the French Open Juniors Championships on Thursday night.

The second-seeded Eala dug deep by winning nine break points to survive the match in almost two hours.

The 15-year-old PH bet had trouble with her service game in the first set, but regrouped to find her rhythm in the second frame.

Eala called a medical timeout after the second set after experiencing tightness on her glutes due to fatigue.

But she returned with more conviction in the deciding frame, breaking Noskova’s opening serve to dictate the pace and holding her serve throughout en route to the win.

The feat made Eala the first Filipina to make it to the Grand Slam semifinals, matching Felix Barrientos’ accomplishment in 1985 at the Wimbledon Juniors.

It also assured Eala a new career-high ranking at the International Tennis Federation juniors after entering the tournament at No. 4.

Eala will battle third seed Elsa Jacquemot of France Friday night for a spot in the final and a chance to clinch her second Grand Slam title after winning the 2020 Australian Open Junior doubles crown.

Jacquemot, 17, is seeded third and is coming off a 6-4, 6-4 semis victory over 10th pick Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus.