Filipina tennis ace and Globe ambassador Alex Eala showcased her toughness as she pulled off a hard-earned 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Romanian netter, Laura-Ioana Paar, at the start of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) W25 Grenoble in France on Tuesday.

Ranged against a 32-year-old powerhouse who already has 13 titles across her name, Eala bucked a 0-2 deficit early in the first set and tied the game at 3-3. She then scored three straight points to close out her opponent in the first canto.

The 15-year-old tennis prodigy rode the momentum to zoom ahead, 3-0, in the second set but Paar, who is 190th in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings, showed off her mettle and rallied to tie the second set up at 4-4. She then held serve and broke Eala’s to win the second set and send the game to a decider.

The third set was nip and tuck with neither player giving an inch to the other. Eala, however, shrugged off fatigue and broke Paar’s serve to surge ahead, 5-4, before capturing match point in thrilling fashion to end the match that lasted over two hours.

Next up for Eala in this $25,000 competition is seventh-seeded Cristina Bucsa of Spain who beat Martina Di Guiseppe of Italy in straight sets, 6-4, 6-4. Bucsa, who is the no. 164 player in the WTA singles rankings, is a 23-year old dynamo who has captured four championships on the pro circuit, including an impressive title conquest in the 2019 W60 Nantes in France.