Philippine Daily Inquirer


- By Marc Anthony Reyes @marcreyesI­NQ

One of them is a former Grand Slam juniors champion. The other was foiled on her attempt to make the French Open’s main juniors draw.

But Alex Eala, the 13-year-old hotshot whose journey to Roland Garros was scuttled late Friday night, vows to use the defeat to come back stronger when the next opportunit­y arises.

“I’m very thankful for the support I got. I’m still very happy to reach the final of the qual- ifying although I lost,” said Eala, who doesn’t have a world juniors ranking yet because she is below 14-years-old.

Her youth did not seem to be a disadvanta­ge until 16-year-old American Peyton Stearns, the 62nd-ranked juniors player in the world, handed her a 6-2, 6-4 defeat in the qualifying final.

Before the final, Eala downed 18-year-old Paula Arias Manjon of Spain, 6-4, 6-4. She flaunted the skill that might someday make her a Grand Slam juniors champion like Daria Kasatkina, who is making waves in the French Open main draw.

Kasatkina, who defeated Maria Sakkari, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3, Friday, was dubbed by legend Chris Evert as the “one whowill definitely be dangerous at Roland Garros”.

The 16th-seeded Russian climbed out of a second-set rut by tearing a page out of clay king Rafael Nadal to reach the fourth round of the French Open for the first time.

“A lot, a topspin forehand, movement on the court and fighting spirit for sure. Because I watched Rafa a lot, I started to spin the ball,” the 21-year-old told reporters. “The first time I saw him he was fighting like an animal and he continues to do that.”

 ?? —REUTERS ?? Daria Kasatkina
—REUTERS Daria Kasatkina

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