After cruising to victory in her opening qualifying match at the WTA Thailand Open on Saturday, January 28, at the True Arena in Hua Hin, Alex Eala moved closer to advancing to the main event of the tournament.
The young woman, who is just 17 years old, defeated Han Xinyun of China by scores of 6-1 and 7-6 (6) to move on to the second and final round of the qualifiers. This victory gave her a win against an opponent who was almost twice her age.
After having a relatively easy time in the first set, Eala struggled in the second set, falling behind 0-2 and 5-6 before regaining her footing in the 12th game and forcing a tiebreaker.
After that, Eala took an early lead in the tiebreaker by scoring the first six points, but Han, who was 32 years old and rated 143 places higher on the WTA list, responded by scoring the next six points to draw even.
However, it appeared that Eala had already learned her lesson after squandering a huge lead in her qualifying match in the Australian Open – her first pro-level appearance at a Grand Slam event – when she lost to Misaki Doi of Japan back in January. Eala’s loss to Doi was her first professional-level appearance at a Grand Slam event.
After taking a 5-2 lead in the second set, the WTA No. 214 Filipina was well on her way to sweeping Doi when she had a monumental lack of composure that caused her to lose the set and the match.
Eala won the following two points to finish off Han and win the match in 1 hour 53 minutes. She was determined not to suffer the same fate as her opponent Han.
In the following round, Eala will compete against whomever emerges victorious from the match between Ekaterina Yashina of Russia and Kristina Dmitruk of Belarus in order to earn a berth in the main draw.
Only six of the twenty-four players who are competing in the qualifications will move on to the main draw. The main draw features competitors like as Bianca Andreescu of Canada, who won the US Open in the past.