Alex Eala survived a thrilling third-set tiebreak in stunning seventh seed Cristina Bucsa of Spain, 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (8), to barge into the quarterfinals of the W25 Grenoble event in France Thursday night, Feb. 11.
This was Eala’s fourth quarterfinals appearance in her young pro career, while also surpassing her second-round finish in her first $25,000 event appearance in Spain last year.
Playing only in her second $25,000 tournament as a junior exempt, Eala proved she can compete against more experienced rivals including Bucsa.
The 23-year-old Spaniard ranks No. 164 in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and boasts of a title in a $60,000 event in France two years ago.
But Eala, now ranked No. 903 from 1190 two weeks back, remained unfazed.
The 15-year-old PH bet squandered three match points to see her 6-3 lead at the tiebreak vanish, but she held her composure in the crunch to defeat Bucsa.
Eala’s win set her up a meeting with the winner between unseeded Maja Chwalinksa of Poland and French qualifier Gaelle Desperrier.
Eala only started competing in the pros last year, and is coming off a three-leg stint in the $15,000 Manacor tournament in Spain where she won her first pro title in the opening leg.