Ferro beats Kontaveit to win first title of tennis' return In Palermo

Ferro beats Kontaveit to win first title of tennis' return In Palermo

The Frenchwoman closed out the No. 22-ranked Estonian in straight sets for her second WTA title and the second-best win of her career.

Tour-level tennis made its long-awaited return this week and France’s Fiona Ferro became the first player to lift a trophy, defeating Anett Kontaveit, 6-2, 7-5, to win the WTA event in Palermo.

Following a grueling 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 semifinal victory over Camila Giorgi the day before, one might have forgiven Ferro for not having the same energy in the final—but she came out firing, racing through the opening set, and she clawed back from 5-3 down in the second set to close it out in straight sets.

The No. 53-ranked Ferro finished the match with more than twice as many winners as unforced errors, 51 to 24. Kontaveit had phenomenal numbers herself: 40 winners to 23 unforced errors.

The Frenchwoman was asked afterwards how she managed to lift her game in the final.

“I was feeling relaxed—I don’t know why, because it’s a final—but I wasn’t really feeling the pressure,” she said. “Anett is a really consistent player and doesn’t give you so many points, but I had good intensity throughout the match and didn’t miss a lot, and I had a lot of winners today, too.

“This really means a lot, especially after five tough months of practice I was already feeling happy just to be back on the court and competing, but it’s even nicer to finish the week this way.”

At the end of the day, Ferro picked up the second WTA title of her career, having won another International-level clay-court title in Lausanne, Switzerland last July. Her win over the No. 22-ranked Kontaveit was also the second-biggest win of her career, after defeating a No. 16-ranked Wang Qiang last year in the second round of Strasbourg, also an International-level clay-court event.

Ferro will make her Top 50 debut on Monday—she’s projected to rise to No. 44.

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While Ferro improved to 2-0 lifetime in WTA finals, Kontaveit is now 1-5, her lone title coming on the grass courts of ’s-Hertogenbosch in 2017. The Estonian, who was the No. 4 seed this week, still had an impressive run in Palermo, including a 6-2, 6-4 upset of No. 1 seed Petra Martic in the semifinals.

“I want to congratulate Fiona for playing such a great match today,” Kontaveit said.

“You really kicked my butt today, so congratulations, what a great week!”

The doubles final was played earlier in the day and saw Dutch-Slovenian pairing Arantxa Rus and Tamara Zidansek edge Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Martina Trevisan in a close two-setter, 7-5, 7-5.