ACAPULCO, México - Sara Errani became the first player in almost two years to sweep both the singles and doubles titles at a WTA tournament, doing so at the Abierto Mexicano TELCEL in picturesque Acapulco on Saturday.
In a week Italian tennis could be extremely proud of - three Italians reaching the semifinals of a WTA tournament for the first time since 2009, then the first all-Italian WTA final since 2010 - it was the No.3-seeded Errani who rose above them all, beating No.1-seeded Roberta Vinci in Friday's semifinals, 64 61, then No.2 seed Flavia Pennetta in Saturday evening's final, 57 76(2) 60.
The first two sets of the final were particularly close - both 57 minutes, they showcased the Italian pair's impressive speed and tenacity, as well as their big forehands. But Errani rolled off the first five points of the tie-break and her confidence only grew - once she closed that breaker out she won the third set in just 32 minutes, losing only three points in her three service games.
"It was such a tough final against Flavia," Errani said. "I had to run a lot and try to play my game and be aggressive in the important moments. It's never easy playing an Italian but I played really well, especially in the third set. I can take a lot of confidence from this going into Indian Wells, but I always want more."
Errani collected her third WTA title, having won her first two in the summer of 2008, at back-to-back events in Palermo (clay) and Portoroz (hardcourt).
Pennetta had a great week though - it was her seventh consecutive final in Acapulco, the first player to reach seven consecutive finals at a WTA event since Martina Hingis achieved the feat in Tokyo six years ago.
"We both played well tonight, but Sara played really well in the important moments," Pennetta said after the match. "I made a lot of mistakes in the tie-break and in the third set I was tired physically and it went really fast. It has been a great week overall, but it would have been better to win the tournament.
"I'm happy I have a rest now before Indian Wells. I feel I'm playing much better now than when I got here, so I hope to play some good tennis there."
Shortly afterwards, Errani partnered with Vinci to take the doubles title, the No.1-seeded Italians taking out No.2-seeded Spaniards Lourdes Domínguez Lino and Arantxa Parra Santonja in just 51 minutes, 62 61.
"I'm glad I was able to help Sara win the doubles this week," Vinci said. "She won a big fight against Flavia and then kept it going in our doubles. We played really well together and knew it would be difficult because Arantxa and Lourdes had been playing well all week. But we stayed on top until the end."
"It has been a great week for me," Errani added. "To finish the week with the singles and doubles trophy is better than I could have hoped for."
Errani and Vinci won their seventh WTA doubles title as a team, having won two in 2010, three in 2011 and now two in 2012, after Monterrey last week.
Errani is the first player to sweep singles and doubles titles at the same WTA tournament since Czech lefty Iveta Benesova did it at Fès in April 2010.