The 31st Palermo Ladies Open is the first professional tournament, men’s or women’s, staged after the coronavirus outbreak. Gathering a solid field of players, Palermo will provide the first WTA champion since February.
It could be an unexpected one, considering how many months the players were out of the competitive sport. Wednesday say four second-round encounters on the central court, with the Italians having a lot to cheer about. The 19-year-old Elisabetta Cocciaretto received a wild card to enter the main draw, using it with both hands to reach the first WTA quarter-final.
World no. 157 took down the 6th seed Donna Vekic 6-2, 6-4 in an hour and 35 minutes, advancing into the last eight and extending her brilliant run, having no WTA triumphs before this week. Serving at 47%, Vekic hit seven double faults and lost ground after missing the first, getting broken four times from nine chances offered to the youngster.
In a manner of more experienced players, Cocciaretto repelled four out of five break opportunities for a career-best victory and the place in the next round. The opening five games offered six break points on both sides and numerous deuces, with returners taking no extra step and missing a chance to move in front.
From 2-2, Elisabetta grabbed four straight games, sealing the opener in style and gathering momentum ahead of set number two. There, we saw more fluid tennis, especially after back-to-back breaks in the early stages. The Italian was more focused in the closing games, rattling off two in a row from 4-4 to stun world no.
24 and reach the quarters. A qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich toppled Jasmine Paolini 6-0, 6-2 in 72 minutes for the first quarter-final since Sydney in January 2019! The Belarusian fended off all eight break points, taking 60% of the return points and converting them into five breaks from six opportunities, controlling the pace all the time and marching over the top.
The young Italian Elisabetta Cocciaretto will play in the first WTA quarter-final.
Sasnovich claimed the opening eight games of the encounter, bringing it home from there to stay on the title course. Fiona Ferro had a good day at the office, ousting the 8th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 49 minutes.
The French girl dominated with her first serve, repelling six out of eight break points and stealing the Russian’s serve five times to move over the top in straight sets. Ferro got broken in her very first service game, finding the rhythm behind the initial shot after that and pulling the break quickly to gain the momentum.
From 5-4 down, she rattled off nine of the last 11 games to control the scoreboard and remain in contention for the second WTA title. The Italian veteran Sara Errani is through to her 80th WTA quarter-final, toppling Kristyna Pliskova 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 in just over two hours.
The Czech won two points more but not those that counted the most, getting broken six times and earning five breaks to end her run in the second round. It was the worst start for the Italian, losing the first 12 points to find herself 3-0 down in no time, suffering four breaks in the opener and having to raise her game if she wanted to fight for the win.
Her serve worked much better in set number two, delivering an early break and keeping it with no troubles to force a decider. There, she grabbed three breaks, staying focused during the rain delay at 5-3 and sealing the deal once they returned.