Océane Dodin has endured much since winning her first WTA title as a teenager in 2016. Back into her first outdoor quarterfinal in four years, the 24-year-old French star has lost neither her breathtaking power nor her sense of humor, outlasting Vitalia Diatchenko in two tight sets at the 32nd Palermo Ladies Open.
“It was very hard, especially with my serve today,” the former world No. 46 giggled after the 7-6 (7), 6-4 win. “I think I made something like 14 double faults! But I’m just happy, mentally, with how I was able to go through this and win this match.”
Dodin indeed struggled to rein in her notoriously high toss, but Diatchenko was similarly out of sorts on serve and threw in 16 double faults of her own—including one on match point. Her higher-ranked opposition was able to save a set point in the first-set tiebreak and ultimately recover to reel off the encounter’s final four games.
“I think I was lucky that her serve was not very good too, so I was able to break her many times,” Dodin mused.
Though seeded No. 6, Dodin arrived in Palermo clearly in search of elite-level consistency, having won just two WTA main draw matches all year.