By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Alex Eala reaffirmed her mastery over Spaniard qualifier Alba Carillo Marin, 6-3, 5-7, 7-5, to jumpstart her title bid in the W25 Platja D’Aro tournament in Spain Wednesday.
Eala, who turns 16 on Sunday, needed a little over three hours to dispatch Marin and advance to the second round of the $25,000 event.
The win arranged her a meeting with another Spaniard in Irene Burillo Escorihuela, who pulled off a 4-6, 7-5, 7-5 upset triumph over seventh seed Simona Walter of Switzerland.
Eala beat Marin at the W15 Manacor in January and the W15 Castellon last November.
Eala overcame nine double faults against Marin and a 5-4 deficit in the deciding frame to prevail. She won nine break points out of 16.
Eala expects another tough match against the 23-year-old Escorihuela, who is currently ranked No. 265.
Eala, who is ranked No. 659, is gunning for her third title this year.