By KRISTEL SATUMBAGA
Alex Eala routed Slovenia’s Ella Hojnik, 6-1, 6-1, in the first round qualifying of the W25 Manacor event in Spain last Sunday.
The 16-year-old Eala proved too classy over her fellow junior rival to advance to the second round of the three-round qualifiers.
The victory set up Eala a meeting with Slovakia’s Mia Chudejova, who also cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 win over Spain’s Nataly Miroslavova Ninova.
Eala boasts of a higher WTA ranking at No. 527 compared to Chudejova’s No. 1137.
Eight berths are at stake in the main draw round of the tournament that stakes $25,000 total prize pot.
Among the top players in the main draw acceptance list are veteran Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia, multiple Grand Slam doubles champion Timea Babos of Hungary, 219-ranked Simona Waltert of Switzerland and Russian Oksana Selekhmeteva.
Last year, Eala teamed up with Selekhmeteva to win the French Open Girls Doubles title.
The event is Eala’s first of the season in the women’s circuit after seeing action in the W25 Milovice in Czech Republic last November where she lost in the first round.
She won the W15 Manacor event last year but it proved to her first and last singles title for the year.