Alex Eala
Alexandra Eala of Philippines celebrates after winning the 2022 US Open Junior Girls Singles Final. Image Credit: AFP

Alexandra Eala has become the first player from the Philippines to win a junior Grand Slam singles title.

The No. 10 seed beat Lucia Havlickova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-4 to win the U.S. Open junior girls' title.

The 17-year-old from Quezon City says she hopes her victory will inspire younger players from her country.

During the awarding ceremony, Alex couldn't hold back her tears ash she honoured her opponents, supporters, organisers her family and her team.

Martin Landaluce of Spain won the boys' title by beating Gilles Arnaud Bailly of Belgium 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-2.

Girl power

Eala’s US Open victory follows a string of girl power in the international sports scene for the Asian country.

In June 2021, golfer Yuka Saso scored a victory in the US Open at Olympic Club, becoming the first Filipino to win a golfing major.

In San Francisco, Saso was followed by a horde of her countrymen.

A few months later, she represented the Philippines in the Tokyo Olympics, even as she hold a Japanese passport adopting her father Masakasi Saso’s birthplace.

Hidilyn Diaz added to the winning streak next when she won the country’s first Olympics gold medal in weightlifting, defeating her Chinese opponent to end a wait that spanned almost a century.

Looking to Rafa Nadal

"My idol is obviously Rafa. He's a very good role model, something a lot of people should idolise and try to be," said Eala who is based at the 22-time Grand Slam champion's academy in Spain.

"The biggest thing I notice in Rafa is how he fights till the end, how his thoughts are so clear.

"He's so calm, but at the same time so fired up. I think I really tried to channel that energy during this whole week."

Eala was playing her first junior tournament since the Orange Bowl in Florida last December.

The Filipino tennis sensation is also a two-time International Tennis Federation (ITF) champion on the professional tour, after winning the W25 Chiang Rai title in Thailand over home bet Luksika Kumkhum, 6-4, 6-2 on April 14, 2022.

Eala is already her country's highest ranked player on the WTA at 297 in the world.

Since then, she became the first Filipina to both contest and win a WTA main draw match when she defeated Paula Ormaechea at Cluj-Napoca in August.

Her brother, 20-year-old Michael, who plays college tennis in the United States, is currently the Philippines' leading man on the ATP, albeit at a lowly 1,506.