Tennis News: Alexandra Eala, Sara Bejlek, and Diana Shnaider are three WTA players to watch in 2023

    The junior tournaments in the 2022 US Open witnessed breakout performances by rising tennis stars. Players from across the world left a lasting impact on the competition.

    Sara Bejlek ( Argentina) Sara Bejlek ( Argentina)

    While Diana Shnaider's refreshing style precedes the future of European tennis, Alexandra Eala brought glory to the Philippines after winning a junior Grand Slam title, and Sara Bejlek is a young gem waiting to be moulded into a fine player. 

    Before the next tennis season kicks off, let's look at the three players and their chances of making it big next year!

    Alexandra Eala

    17-year-old Eala is already scripting history after becoming the first player from the Philippines to win a junior Grand Slam title. In addition, no player from the country won a Hologic WTA Tour match (her victory at Cluj-Napoca 2021) before her.

    She has three Grand Slam titles ( Junior), including this year's US Open. She finished the year as number 219 after jumping 300 spots from the last season. 

    It is the highest position ever acquired by a Filipina. A product of the Rafa Nadal Academy, Eala shared her thoughts on her career. "I'm still not where I want to be," she said. 

    "And that, most of all, is what keeps me grounded - the motivation to improve and the motivation to achieve my bigger goals."

    Besides being competitive, Eala supports the increasing diversity in tennis. She believes it makes for a "really great atmosphere" at tournaments, and the teenage sensation is willing to promote her Filipino culture wherever possible. 

    She hopes to make her Grand Slam qualifying debut at the Australian Open in January. She resurfaced in the year's second half despite being diagnosed with Covid-19 and a few injuries. 

    As of now, she is actively trying to improve in Mallorca. Her style, centred around a heavy left-handed forehand, seems comparable to Nadal's. She is currently working on her fitness as she awaits the entry list for the Australian Open 2023.

    Sara Bejlek 

    Bejlek, who jumped more than 200 spots this season, represents the future generation of the Czech Republic. The 16-year-old is ranked 179th, making the left-hander the second-youngest player in the Top 200.

    She started 2022 as a junior ranked 380th, and glimpses of her talent were visible during the clay-court swing, where she bagged three ITF Challenger titles. 

    She also competed in Junior Roland Garros, where she made the semifinals in the singles draw and won the doubles title alongside Lucie Havlickova.

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    Bejlek's rapid growth in performance earned her a spot in the Grand Slam for the first time at Wimbledon. At the US Open, she defeated former Top 10 players Kristina Mladenovic, Priscilla Hon, and Heather Watson to qualify for the main draw. 

    Bejlek is now preparing for a solid 2023 season and has been spending her time in the gym during the offseason before her scheduled first tournament in Canberra. 

     "I think that when I was at the start of the year, I was just playing from baseline, and now I'm trying to go for some volleys," she said. "I think I need to work harder and more."

    Bejlek's ranking is decent enough for her to qualify for the Australian Open next year. 

    Diana Shnaider

    Teenager Shnaider climbed the singles rankings by beating Leolia Jeanjean and winning her first WTA 125 title at the Montevideo Open. The 18-year-old overcame the 10th seed Leolia Jeanjean 6-4, 6-4, to win the title. 

    Shnaider began 2022 as number 875 but will be ranked 109 on Monday. The left-handed prodigy peaked at number three on the junior circuit with three Junior Grand Slam doubles titles. 

    In addition, she won four ITF Challenger singles titles before her victory at Montevideo. Shnaider struck powerful lefty forehands at the summit clash and dominated the match. 

    Shnaider converted five out of her 13 break points and won 60 per cent of her second-service return points.