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Eala keeps rolling

Ian Suyu



ALEX Eala rolls to the Round of 16 of the W60 Bellinzona Meet in Switzerland. / Matthew Stockman / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Alex Eala extended her winning ways after pulling off a three-set victory over Laura Iona Paar of Romania, 6-7, 6-1, 6-0, in the second round of the W60 Bellinzona Meet in Switzerland early Thursday (Manila time).

The 15-year-old rising star again proved that age is not a factor after catching fire in the second and third sets en route to an overwhelming win that sent her to the Round of 16 of this prestigious $60,000-tourney.

She is clashing with hometown bet Simona Waltert at press time for a chance to reach the quarterfinals.

Like Paar, the 20-year-old Waltert is also a familiar foe as she already defeated her in the early round of her title-clinching campaign in the W15 Manacor Meet in January.

The Swiss, however, avenged that loss as she won over Eala, 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in the first round of W25 Manacor Meet in March.

Against the 32-year-old Romanian, who is at No. 206 in the latest Women’s Tennis Association ranking, the Rafael Nadal Tennis Academy scholar was simply at her best.

After posting a 3-1 start, Eala found herself in a tight situation in the first set as Paar took three straight games to seal a first-set victory, 6-7.

But it proved to be the Romanian’s last stand as the young Filipina refused to get intimidated in the crucial stretch, enabling her to prevail and duplicate her win in the opening round of the $25,000 Trophee de la Ville Meet in Grenoble, France in February.