Alex Eala faces her toughest hurdle to date in the French Open Juniors when she battles local bet Esla Jacquemot Friday night for a spot in the final.
Match is scheduled between 6 to 8 p.m. with Eala seeking to inch closer to her second Grand Slam title.
Eala, 15, is fresh from a hard-earned 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Linda Noskova of Czech Republic on Thursday to become the first Filipina to make it to the Final 4 of a Grand Slam singles, matching Felix Barrientos’ feat in the 1985 Wimbledon Juniors.
The 17-year-old Noskova, for her part, had an easier time cruising into the semis with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over 10th seed Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus.
Eala, a Globe ambassador, has a slight edge over Jacquemot on paper. The PH player is seeded second and ranked No. 4 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) juniors while Jacquemot is seeded third with a world junior ranking of No. 6.
But the French player has five titles compared to Eala’s three, and has made it to the quarterfinals in last year’s French Open and the Wimbledon.
As for Eala, this is her best singles performance so far after making into the third round of the Australian Open last January.
Eala, however, made her presence felt in the doubles, having won the 2020 Australian Open title with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho.
Interestingly, Jacquemot has never dropped a set throughout the tournament, while Eala had three three-setter victories out of her four matches.