The Philippines has its first ever Singles Grand Slam Champion! Let’s all pause for a moment and truly absorb and appreciate that fact.
To those, like us at The GAME, who have been following Alex Eala’s rise to the top, we think you’ll agree with us when we tell you that this win at the 2022 US Open feels like a coronation!
While she’s only 17 years of age, news of her victories across all sorts of competitions made it feel like this was only a matter of time. She’s actually already held Grand Slam titles before though those were in the doubles category (mind you, she was also the First Filipino to accomplish that feat). Prior to this, the closest she’s come to bringing home a singles Grand Slam title was during her run at the 2020 French Open when she was only 15!
Despite that prolonged wait and anticipation, the joy of knowing that the moment is finally here is not at all diminished—rather its actually made that victory that much sweeter!
Talking about her being only 17, and as proof of our excitement about Alex’s career, some months back we have already compared her career accolades against no other than Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. You can read that story here.
This US Open Girl’s Grand Slam Championship is gonna be a major update to all her accomplishments—and all before she turns 18 next May!
A dominating run to the top
Can we also talk about how impressive it is that she didn’t lose a single set throughout the tournament? While she faced higher seeded aces in the competition, Alex Eala was unfazed and was only ever really in danger of dropping a set twice — to Aussie Taylah Preston in the quarters and Canadian Victoria Mboko in the semis.
Saving the best for last, she faced off against Tournament No. 2 seed and World No. 3 ranked Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic for all the marbles! Just like in every other match of the tournament, she won the crown 6-2, 6-4! With the winning moment happening on a set where Eala was serving, the championship point was settled rather quickly as Havlickova couldn’t return the ball to the other side after a short exchange.
Championship Class and Poise
Obviously overcome with emotion Alex Eala instinctively dropped her racket upon realizing that she’s done it! However, like the true champion that she is, she kept her composure as she walked to center court to approach her opponent with grace before she started her celebrations running to the bleachers where her family and friends were so ready to greet her with their embrace!
In what could only be the cherry on top for proud Pinoys who stayed up until the wee hours on a Saturday night (2:00 AM, Manila time), Eala tearfully delivered her victory speech in Filipino much to the crowd’s delight.
“Unang una gusto ko lang magpasalamat sa pamilya ko kasi kung hindi (dahil) sa kanila hindi ko talaga ‘to kakayanin. Maraming salamat din sa lahat ng nagdasal at nagsuporta sa akin, sa aking mga sponsors, and of course to my team in the Rafael (Nadal) Academy. Maraming maraming salamat po,” she says.
“Buong puso ko ‘ito ipinaglaban. Hindi lang para sa sarili ko, kung hindi para makatulong din ako sa kinabukasan ng Philippine Tennis. So hindi lang ito panalo ko, panalo nating lahat,” she adds.
She also gave much deserved credit and recognition to the tournament organizers and her Czech rival in her speech when she said “Of course, congratulations to Lucie. We’ll meet many more times in the future so I look forward to it. This has been such an amazing tournament. I couldn’t be happier.”
Long may she reign!
If this is the first time you’ve heard of Alex Eala, we guarantee that it won’t be the last. International Victories Philippine Tennis have been around for quite some time on the international stage. In fact, we are a pretty consistent podium finisher in games played in our region.
But Alex bringing home this 2022 US Open crown has just brought the country to new heights and she deserves all the love that she’ll get and more!
Congratulations to our undisputed Queen of Tennis! Mabuhay ka Alex!