Filipina teenager Alex Eala gets biggest win of her career at the Mutua Madrid Open

Eala defeated Ukranian Lesia Tsurenko, former US Open quarterfinalist
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18-year-old Filipina tennis player Alex Eala, ranked 170th in the world, came from a set down to defeat Lesia Tsurkeno in the biggest win of her career 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the first round of the Mutura Madrid Open. Eala turned pro in 2020 and previously trained at Rafael Nadal's academy.

Tsurenko, 34, is a veteran of the WTA Tour with four career titles, a US Open quarterfinal appearance in 2018, and a career-high ranking of 23rd in 2019. She is currently ranked 41st.

Eala's career has been overshadowed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that Japan and China are Asian countries with legions of quality tennis players, and she is the pioneer of the sport in the Philippines.

Eala will be tested in the second round

The left-hander Eala gets an even bigger challenge in the second round. She will face Romanian Sorana Cirstea. Like Tsurenko, Cirstea is 34. She also was a US Open quarterfinalist in 2023. Cirstea lost to Karolina Muchova but not before defeating Elena Rybakina and Belinda Bencic in New York last fall. She also has played well on the clay and was a 2009 French Open quarterfinalist. Cirstea is World No. 30. If Eala gets past Tsurkeno and Cirstea, two Top 50 players, her ranking will ascend.

Eala won the US Open Juniors title in 2022 defeating Mirra Andreeva, her occasional doubles partner, in straight sets in the quarterfinals. She was the first Filipino player, man or woman, to win a singles Grand Slam title.

Tennis is getting younger as the teenagers are showing. The 30-somethings continue to hang in there with their experience and work ethic. It is only a matter of time before Alex Eala becomes a household name like Andreeva and Linda Noskova of the Czech Republic.

Eala's Round of 64 match against Cirstea is scheduled for Thursday, April 25 at a time yet to be determined. The Tennis Channel has all of the Mutua Madrid Open coverage from the first ball through the finals on May 5.

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