Eala, Landaluce Capture US Open Junior Titles

Alexandra Eala (photo: Garrett Ellwood/USTA)

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON, September 11, 2022 (by Michael Dickens)

Alexandra Eala of the Philippines made history at the US Open Saturday afternoon on a packed Court 11 at the USTA Billie Jean National Center grounds. The No. 10 seed became the first Filipina to win a junior Grand Slam singles trophy. She beat No. 2 seed Lucie Havlickova of the Czech Republic, 6-2, 6-4, in 68 minutes.

“It’s very overwhelming right now,” Eala said, quoted by the US Open website, of her triumph over Havlickova, who won the French Open junior title earlier this year. “I’m super happy to represent my country and do something with a big platform, being able to inspire other younger people.”

Eala, 17, who was born in Quezon City, trains at the Rafael Nadal Academy in Manacor. During the final, she won 79 percent of her first-serve points, hit 11 winners and 21 unforced errors and converted four of four break-point chances against Havlickova. She outpointed her opponent 60-41.

“I just tried to focus on every single point, visualize what I was going to do,” Eala said. “Today I was able to execute that well.”

After competing at the pro-level for nearly a year, Eala returned to play in her first junior tournament and did not drop a set all week.

“I would say I’m very happy with the way I handled each and every point,” Eala said. “I had a lot of moments in this tournament where I was down, I could have lost, could have gotten mad easily, but I didn’t. I think my behavior throughout the whole week is something I’m very proud of.”

Meanwhile, fifth-seed 16-year Martin Landaluce of Spain won the junior boys’ title over No. 2 seed Gilles Arnaud Bailly of Belgium, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-3, in two hours and 14 minutes on Court 11.

At a set each, Bailly garnered the momentum going into the third – and had won four straight three-set matches. However, Landaluce was up for the challenge. He broke Bailly in the first game, then won 14 points on his first serve and never allowed Bailly back into the match. Landaluce struck 39 winners and outpointed Bailly 103-91.

“I tried one game plan at the beginning that went more or less good,” Landaluce said. “But then in the third set I tried to change it, to be more solid, more consistent. I think that’s what gave me the match, the win.”

Landaluce became the second straight Spaniard to win the junior boys’ title following Daniel Rincon in 2021. He said Rafael Nadal is his idol. “He’s one of the best examples of sports management. He’s my idol since I’ve been playing. I think for many people he’s been such an inspiration.”

Havlickova had reason to celebrate later Saturday as she and Diana Shnaider of Russia teamed to win the girls’ doubles title over all-German duo Carolina Kuhl and Ella Seidel, 6-3, 6-2.

The boys’ doubles title went to American pair Nishesh Basavareddy of Indiana and Ozan Baris of Michigan. They beat Dylan Dietrich of Switzerland and Juan Carlos Prado Angelo of Bolivia, 6-1, 6-1.

Saturday’s US Open results

Sunday’s US Open order of play