RAMPAGING Alex Eala barged back into the quarterfinals of the US Open junior championships, fashioning out a 6-2, 7-6(1) victory in the Round of 16 over Australia’s Taylah Preston yesterday at the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York City.
The 10th-seeded Filipina ace banked on a spirited comeback in the second set to dispatch Preston, No. 8 seed, and advance to the Last 8 for the second straight edition of the prestigious US major.
Ms. Eala captured the opening salvo with ease by allowing only two games to her Australian counterpart but needed steely resolve in the clincher after trailing 1-4.
She uncorked a scorching 5-2 rally to force a tiebreaker, setting the stage for a strong finishing kick as she made Ms. Preston bleed for just a point from there on.
In an intriguing quarterfinals duel, the 17-year-old Ms. Eala will face Russian Mirra Andreeva, her partner in the ongoing doubles division.
Ms. Andreeva, the No. 14 seed, advanced with a 5-7, 6-4, 6-1 upset of No. 1 seed Sofia Costoulas of Belgium.
Ms. Eala has yet to lose a single set in this edition with similar sweeps of Canada’s Annabelle Xu and Slovakia’s Nina Vargova in a bid to surpass her quarterfinal finish last year.
Mmse. Eala and Andreeva then made it a twin kill in the doubles tourney as their team-up proved to be too much for the American pair of Iva Jovic and Shannon Lam, 6-2, 6-2.
Up next for the Filipina-Russian duo is the German tandem of Carolina Kuhl and Ella Seidel.
Ms. Eala is looking for her first singles and third doubles grand slam after winning in the 2020 Australian Open and 2021 French Open. — John Bryan Ulanday