By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Alex Eala opens her US Open campaign late Tuesday in Manila when she clashes with wildcard entry Charlotte Owensby of the United States in the second round.
Eala, 16, earned an opening round bye after being seeded second in the Grand Slam Juniors event.
The Filipina teen sensation boasts of an International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior ranking of No. 2 compared to her American opponent’s No. 78.
She was also coming off fresh in the tournament while Owensby, who is two years older, advanced to the second round with a 6-1, 7-6 (3) victory over Thai qualifier Pimrada Jattavapornvanit.
Eala is also competing in the Girls Doubles with Belgian partner Hanne Vandewinkel where they are seeded sixth.
The pair, who also earned a first-round bye, awaits the winner between Greece’s Michaela Laki and Slovakia’s Radka Zinickova, and American tandem Tatum Evans and Amelia Honer.
Eala seeks her first Girls Singles title and third Girls Doubles crown in the Grand Slams.
She won the 2020 Australian Open Girls Doubles title with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho and the 2021 French Open Girls Doubles crown with Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva.
Her best singles finish in the Junior Grand Slams is a semifinal at the 2020 French Open.