Rafa Nadal Academy student Alex Eala secures bronze medal in women's singles at Asian Games 2023
Philippines' Alex Eala, who trains at the Rafa Nadal Academy in Mallorca, bagged the bronze medal in women's singles at the 2023 Asian Games on Thursday (September 28).
The fourth-seeded Eala had a great campaign at the continental event this week. Having received a bye in the first round, the 18-year-old blanked Pakistan's Sarah Khan 6-0, 6-0 in the second round, before beating India's Rutuja Bhosale 7-6(5), 6-2 to reach the last eight in Hangzhou.
She then overcame a terrible first set to defeat 11th-seeded Kyoka Okamura 0-6, 7-5, 6-0. Since there are no play-offs for the losing semifinalists in Asian Games, Eala was ensured a bronze medal even before she took the court for her last-four encounter against World No. 23 Qinwen Zheng.
Having said that, the fourth seed didn't take the match any lightly. She put up a brave display against her more experienced opponent before eventually going down 1-6, 7-6(5), 3-6.
Alex Eala is also currently competing in the mixed doubles competition of the event. The 18-year-old teamed up with Francis Alcantara to reach the semifinals, where they will take on Chinese Taipei's Lian En-shuo and Huang Tsung-hao. Needless to say, Eala will be going home with two medals in her first-ever Asian Games appearance.
The World No. 190 Filipina is the first male or female tennis player from her country in the last 17 years to win a bronze medal at the Asian Games. The last time the Philippines secured a medal in the sport was in 2006, when Cecil Mamiit won the bronze medal in men’s singles, and in doubles with Eric Taino.
Alex Eala joined Rafael Nadal's tennis academy at the age of 13
Alex Eala joined Rafael Nadal's tennis acdemy at the young age of 13. Since then, the teenager has gone from strength-to-strength, winning junior doubles Major titles at the 2020 Australian Open and the 2021 French Open.
She also reached a new career-high WTA ranking of 190 this week, thanks to a string of good results in 250-level and ITF tournaments over the last few months.
The Rafa Nadal Academy, meanwhile, is no stranger to producing budding young players with great prospects. The 22-time Major winner's project, which began in 2016, has produced some top talents over the years, including 3-time Major finalist Casper Ruud, former World No. 52 Jaume Munar, World No. 274 Abdullah Shelbayh, Spanish teen prodigy Dani Rincon and Hong Kong's top-ranked player Coleman Wong.