ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - No.2 seed Roberta Vinci won the battle of youth vs. experience at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, defeating 18-year-old Belinda Bencic - who is poised to crack the Top 10 next week - 6-4, 6-3 for her 10th career title, and her first on the WTA Premier level.
Vinci had overcome a thrilling quarterfinal encounter against the big-serving Timea Babos and turned around a lop-sided head-to-head against former No.1 Ana Ivanovic just to reach the final, but the 32-year-old showed few signs of fatigue on Sunday, hitting 32 winners to just 12 errors.
By winning her semifinal against former junior rival Daria Kasatkina, Bencic was assured of a Top 10 debut heading into the championship match, and though she struck 17 winners of her own, she only converted two of six break point opportunities, and was undone by Vinci's 25 forays to the net - 17 of which ended in favor of the Italian.
"Roberta played amazing today and throughout this tournament," Bencic said, addressing the champion. "I gave everything I could but today you were much better!"
"It wasn't easy," Vinci said during her on-court interview. "It was a tough match; Belinda is a great player, so it's tough to play against her. She only missed a few balls, so I had to stay focused every single point.
"But I served so good today, so I think that was the key to my victory."
Having earned a career performance at last year's US Open - where she ended World No.1 Serena Williams' quest for the Calendar Year Grand Slam to reach her first major singles final - Vinci had previously announced her intention to make 2016 her last season, but with another title under her belt, the veteran was singing a slightly different tune when asked if she planned to play a few more years.
"No, two, three years, no. One more, but maybe. Why not?"