Fiona Ferro made a poor start of the season, scoring three main draw victories before the coronavirus outbreak. World no. 53 will be remembered as the first post-pandemic champion, beating Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 7-5 to claim the 31st Palermo Ladies Open crown.
It is the second WTA title for Ferro after Lausanne last year, rattling off the final four games to cross the finish line in straight sets and secure the trophy. The French player fended off four out of six break chances, stealing half of the points behind Kontaveit's serve for five breaks, enough to keep her safe.
It was a high-quality encounter, especially in the second set, with Ferro landing 51 winners and 24 unforced errors, and Kontaveit who added 40 winners and 23 mistakes, which wasn't enough at least for a set. Fiona grabbed a break in the first game following a backhand mistake from the Estonian, fending off two break chances in the next one and closing it with a service winner for a 2-0 lead.
At 4-2, Fiona forced an error from Anett with a deep return, earning another break and converting the sixth set point on her serve with a service winner to forge a 6-2 advantage. They traded breaks in games two and three in set number two, and Kontaveit moved in front with another at 4-3, serving for the set in game nine.
Ferro broke back in the last moment with a backhand crosscourt winner, gathering boost and delivering another break at 5-5 to serve for the triumph. Ferro moved over the top with a service winner in the 12th game, celebrating the second title and making the best restart.
Over the last couple of months, Ferro stayed at her home, practicing on her tennis court and working on fitness. She won all exhibition matches ahead of Palermo, maintaining that level in the first official matches and traveling to Prague with the WTA title.
In the semis, Ferro prevailed against Camila Giorgi 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and six minutes for the second WTA final.
Fiona Ferro claimed the second WTA title in Palermo.
They claimed 88 points each and stayed neck and neck in the decider, with the French player remaining calm in the closing stages to cross the finish line first.
Ferro suffered five breaks from ten chances offered to Giorgi, earning six breaks on the other side to find herself over the top. The Italian made a strong start, securing three breaks in the opening set for a comfortable 6-2 lead, closing it with a break at love.
There, Fiona responded in the same way, earning breaks in games one, five and seven to reach a decider, with the momentum on her side. Ferro grabbed a break in the third game to open a 5-3 gap, failing to serve out for the victory in the tenth game for more drama.
It wasn't for Camila, as she lost eight of the last 11 points to send the French over the top.