MANILA, Philippines – Alex Eala crushed a young Russian prodigy on Saturday and approached the gate of his first junior tournament title in two years.
Playing with a more stable serve compared to recent matches, Eala scored a 7-5, 6-2 win over Mirra Andreeva to reach the final of the Bonfiglio Trophy in Milan, Italy.
The top 16-year-old Filipino tennis player will fight for the Grade A championship on Sunday against Nikola Bartunkova from the Czech Republic or American Clervie Ngounoue, who were still playing in the other semi-finals.
Eala and her American partner Madison Sieg would contest the doubles crown against the Croatian Lucija Ciric Bagaric and the Belgian Sofia Costoulas.
Unlike her previous matches, Eala was more determined against 14-year-old Andreeva, who has had three ITF titles under her belt and upset a third-seeded third on her way to the semi-finals.
Eala quickly set the tone with a key break in the eighth game of the first for a 5-3 lead. That put No. 102 on defense for most of the hour and 15 minutes of the game.
Andreeva, who pulled the mat off Czech third-seeded Brenda Fruhvirtova in the second round, still managed to bounce back, but it was clear that Eala got her number from then on.
In Russian service, Eala ran from 15 to 30, but still needed two match points before closing the deal.
The last time Eala won a junior title was 2019 YES in Cape Town.
Aside from her campaign on the women’s circuit, where she ranks 630th, Eala has focused more on grand slams, especially after reaching the 2020 French Open semi-finals.
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