Ferro is the first champion in five months as WTA Tour returns

Updated 11 Aug 2020

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“I think it was my best match of the week,” the 23-year-old Ferro said after landing the second title of her career with a dominant display. — Reuters
“I think it was my best match of the week,” the 23-year-old Ferro said after landing the second title of her career with a dominant display. — Reuters

PALERMO: France’s Fiona Ferro became the first WTA champion in five months on Sunday as she overpowered Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 7-5 to win the Palermo Ladies Open, the first Tour event to be staged since the Covid-19 epidemic shut down the sport.

Ferro went 10 matches unbeaten in regional exhibition events after the Tour was suspended in March, and continued to gather further momentum with five more wins in Palermo this week as major tennis returned in the Sicilian capital.

“I think it was my best match of the week,” the 23-year-old Ferro said after landing the second title of her career with a dominant display. “I was feeling relaxed ... I don’t know why because it was a final! I wasn’t really feeling pressure.”

Several exhibition events have taken place globally since the sport was halted in early March due to the pandemic but the women’s claycourt tournament in Palermo was the first across both the elite WTA and ATP tours in five months.

There were strict health protocols, including limited number of fans and no handshakes between players after the match.

Players and officials underwent Covid-19 tests every four days and one player who tested positive pulled out of the tournament last weekend. Ferro and Kontaveit wore gloves to handle their trophies.

“I had a good intensity throughout the whole match, I didn’t miss a lot, made a lot of winners, so I’m really happy to have the trophy with me,” said the Belgian-born Ferro.

She struck 51 winners and broke Kontaveit’s serve five times in a clinical display as she clinched the title in one hour 43 minutes on her second match point.

The result ensures Ferro will make her world top-50 debut at number 44 when the latest WTA rankings are released on Monday.

Estonia’s Kontaveit, ranked 22nd, has now lost five of the six finals she has contested.

“I don’t feel like I did too much wrong, she was just too good today,” Kontaveit said. “I’m just really happy were back playing tennis and able to compete. At the beginning it was terrifying but also really exciting at the same time.”

The season will continue next week with WTA events in Prague and Lexington, with the US Open starting on August 31.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2020