Tennis Article

Fiona Ferro Wins Palermo International

Fiona Ferro Wins Palermo International Photo: TT
Fiona Ferro wins Palermo International

Frenchman Fiona Ferro won the Palermo International, the first WTA event since the shutdown of tennis because of the coronavirus pandemic. She beat the fourth seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia in Sundays final in match that lasted an hour and 43 minutes, clinching a straight sets victory on her second match point, 6 2, 7 -5.

It was the second senior career title for the 23-year old, who was born in Belgium, but moved to France at a very young age, It follows her victory in the Swiss Open in Lausanne last July, another clay court event.

Ranked 53 in the world before the tournament began, she will now move back into the worlds top 50 again, having previously achieved a career high ranking of 44.

It was a disappointment for Kontaveit, who had beaten the top seed Petra Marti in their semi-final on Saturday, but who found that her French opponent had too much for her on the day.

Marti was elevated to the status of top seed after Simona Halep was forced to retire from the tournament beforehand, due to the prevailing travel restrictions which prevent Romanian citizens travelling to Italy because of current health risks.

Although lacking many of the star names, the Palermo event, which had total prize money of US $222,500 was regarded as a useful test case and pilot as to how a tennis tournament could still be staged safely given the challenges posed by the virus.

Spectators were allowed to attend in limited numbers there were only three hundred allowed in the clay court venue which has a capacity of 1,500.

All players were tested for the virus with one subsequently returning a positive result. She immediately withdrew from the event and began self-isolating at her hotel.

The WTA season will continue on Monday with the Prague International which gets underway in the Czech Republic.

That will be followed by the Western & Southern Open which is the precursor to the US Open, and which will be held at the same venue, the Billie Jean King Tennis Center in New York.

Suneer chowdhary
Sports Pundit staff writer @suneerchowdhary
ICC-accredited cricket journalist, covers Team India through their cricketing journey around the world

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