Alex Eala survived Italy’s Stefania Rubini, 4-6, 6-4, 10-4, to barge into the main draw round of the W60 Grenoble tournament in France Monday.
The 16-year-old junior netter had to dig deep to outlast her higher-ranked rival to arrange a first-round main draw match against unseeded Swiss foe Joanne Zuger.
Zuger, 21, boasts of a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles ranking of No. 264 with two International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles titles.
This was the fourth tournament for the Swiss player, having opened up her circuit campaign with a quarterfinal finish at the $60,000 Benigo International in Australia early last month.
Eala, who is at No. 587 in the WTA, is seeking to make an impact after failing to make it past the qualifying rounds in two Spanish tournaments.
The Filipino bet hopes to follow up her first pro title at the W15 Manacor event in 2021.
Prior to beating Rubini, Eala started her campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over France’s Thanh Lan Troung in the first-round qualifiers.
World no. 63 Arantza Rus of the Netherlands banners the field in her bid to follow up her W80 Valencia title in Spain last September.
So far, the 31-year-old Dutch player has 27 ITF singles titles including three last year.