Fiona Ferro would never dream of having the surprises she did when entering the Ladies Open Lausanne in France. She is ranked no. 98 in the world and knew full well that her friend and club mate in Nice would be in the tournament too.
Alize Cornet, ranked no. 48, an accomplished player for over a decade had met up with Fiona years ago at a French tennis club and was also scheduled to participate at Lausanne. Ferro looked at Cornet 'like my little sister on the tour' she joked, even though Cornet is 7 years older than her.
Ferro is French but born in Belgium, her mother's home country. The pressure was on both compatriots being that they were friends, but Cornet won the tournament last year and was trying to defend her title. Ferro was going for her first title and had no idea they would meet up in the final.
She did well cutting through her competition as she won over Mona Barthel in a tiebreaking first set 7-6 and then 6-2 at the end. She had felt confident when she met up with Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania. She was ranked no. 20 and had turned pro 15 years ago.
Ferro played consistently and brought her 'A' game on the court to defeat her in a three-set battle. The Romanian outwardly won the first set 6-1, but the young Frenchwoman's hope and desperation for a victory never dissolved.
She won the tiebreak in the second set 7-6 and went on to win 7-5 in the decider. She played fearlessly and only felt stronger as the rounds progressed. Ferro kept focus and proved it when she took on Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals.
She came on strong and aggressive knowing the tennis resume of Stosur was heavy and won in straight sets 6-4, 6-2 despite having a few bumps in the match allowing Stosur to win games. The confidence and strategies she had with her previous competitors she was feeling self-assured to use them on Bernarda Pera of the U.S.
Ferro stormed Pera in the opening round displaying excellent and basic tactics to win point after point. The young Frenchwoman only allowed Pera one game in the opening set and the second set Pera tried to make a comeback to no avail and lost the semifinal 6-1, 6-4.
With the win over Pera and Cornet coming out victorious over Tamara Korpatsch of Germany, this brought about an All-French final, the first time for the Ladies Open Lausanne in ten years. This was the younger Frenchwoman's first final of her career and she held tight to maintain her focus and defeat Cornet even though they were friends.
Ferro won the opening set 6-1. Despite having the disadvantage, Cornet fought hard and tough and won the second set 6-2. She knew a bit of her friend's game but her young club mate was just too much stronger and strategy-wise to not be able to win the decider and to defend her title.
Fiona Ferro was extremely excited to win her first title but admitted to the WTA tennis media that "..it was very difficult to stay calm and to stay in the moment. When you play a friend the emotions always take over."
It was issues all along with the two compatriots playing each other. Ferro was going for her first title alone, at a time when her coach Stephane Huet was on a holiday and not present to cheer her on. She was playing against a friend and another French comrade, the first time that has ever happened at Lausanne.
Alize Cornet wanted to defend her title, the only time in her decade career she was in that position. The younger Frenchwoman played brilliantly and persisted into hammering the serves that Cornet would blast over the net to her.
The stronger Ferro continued playing it apperared the more Cornet was forced into errors. Many were gifts she'd given the younger compatriot and some were just miscalculations and nervousness from the veteran Cornet. The match only took nearly 90 minutes to be won and it was Ferro who came out victorious.
She was extremely proud of her performance and had talked of the flaws in her playing during the second set of which she lost and started missing more important shots. But the deciding set she'd gotten her act together saying"..I put a little bit more energy in, and I found my rhythm again."
All in all, it was a good match for the opponents and exciting for the crowds to witness. Fiona Ferro didn't know how long she could have kept up the gritty play to win the match and her first title. "I'm very happy and very relieved," she told reporters as she gave a big grin and went to pack up her things and call it a tournament well done.