This week, Filipina Junior Grand Slam champion Alex Eala qualified for the main draw of the W80 Poitiers tournament in France. She breezed through the two qualifying rounds against French players Diana Martynov and Astrid Cirotte, winning both matches 6-1, 6-2.
Now in the main draw of the $80,000 Tournament, she opens her campaign with a win over Jessika Ponchet—a first for Eala against the familiar French foe.
Although it was still just the first-round win for Alex Eala, the match victory marks her first win over Jessika Ponchet. In their past two meetings, the 26-year-old tennis player won over the Filipina, taking both matches in two sets.
However, earlier today (Manila time), the Filipina Grand Slam champ took her awaited comeback against the Ponchet, 161st on the WTA Singles Ranking.
Eala, ranked 248th, showed control in the early stages of the match, winning the first set, 6-2. But Ponchet, with her extensive experience on the court, came back in the second round, 7-5, keeping herself in the match.
In the final set, the Filipina was already down, 3-5. Preventing the French player from ending the match, she won three straight sets to reclaim her lead, 6-5. Not only that, but she also fought off six match points.
And, to make the match all the more interesting, Ponchet came back herself, tying it to 6-6. However, it was Eala who came out on top, winning the tiebreak, 8-6. The match lasted two and a half hours.
With the win, Alex Eala moves on to the second round of the tournament. There, she will be facing either eighth-seed Russian player Vitalia Diatchenko or French player Marine Partaud, depending on who wins between them in their first-round match later today.