Alexandra Eala and Melanie Dizon came away with a pair of straight-set victories to rule their respective divisions and nail the coveted berths in the WTA Futures Stars Tournament in Singapore next month.
Eala dominated Miles Vitaliano in the opening frame but bucked her rival’s late charge to fashion out a 6-0, 7-5, and clinch the Under-14 crown in the Cebuana Lhuillier Girls’ Tennis Challenge at the Valle Verde Country Club in Pasig recently.
Dizon, on the other hand, stamped her class over pre-tournament favorite Carlyn Guarde, scoring an emphatic 6-1, 6-2 romp to annex the U-16 crown and join Eala in the Singapore meet where they will slug it out against the top juniors in the Asia-Pacific region.
“I’d like to congratulate all the participants, most especially the two champions of the Cebuana Lhuillier WTA Future Stars qualifying tournament, for giving us such exciting matches. As a tennis patron, it was very inspiring to witness the talents and skills of these young tennis players,” said Philta chairman and Cebuana Lhuillier president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier.
He added that Eala and Dizon, who bested the country’s leading and rising players in the U-14 and U-16 age groups, have what it takes to win the WTA crown.
Eala sustained her fierce form that toppled her rivals in the previous rounds, coming up with heady plays and banking on smooth, consistent returns to sweep Vitaliano in the first set.
But Vitaliano, who fended off Bliss Bayking, 6-0, 6-2, in the semis, refused to give up and rallied to force a 5-5 tie in the second frame but Eala, who survived a three-hour duel with Macie Carlos, 6-0, 6-2, hung tough and came through with winners to foil Vitaliano and claim her spot in the WTA Future Stars finals.
Against Guarde, Dizon used her powerful smashes to seize control then kept the pressure with superb court coverage while pouncing on her rival’s miscues on her way to victory.
Dizon turned back Aubrey Calma, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2, in the semis while Guarde trounced Gennifer Pagente, 6-3, 6-3, in their side of the Final Four.