PALERMO, Italy - Sara Errani made history for her home nation, in her home nation on Sunday night, capturing her fourth WTA title of the year at the XXV Italiacom Open - the first Italian ever to win four WTA titles in a season.
Errani, who had already won International-level clay court events at Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest this year, was the No.1 seed in Palermo and totally dominated the field, losing just 16 games in her first four matches of the week then routing No.8 seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the final, 61 63.
"It wasn't easy like the score looks - Barbara was playing very aggressively and it was tough for me," Errani said. "In some moments of the match I was a little bit nervous, and she was able to come back into the match at those times, but at the end of the match I played very well and was able to close it out."
The previous record for most WTA titles in a season for an Italian came just last year, as Errani's best friend and loyal doubles partner, Roberta Vinci, won three, at Barcelona, 's-Hertogenbosch and Budapest. Errani has surpassed that, and with the summer and fall seasons still to come, she could shatter it.
"I wasn't thinking about the record today, but I'm very happy to have the record - to win four tournaments in a season is incredible for me," Errani said. "It's a magic period for me. This year I've played some fantastic tennis on clay, losing only a few matches, but I really want to improve my results on hard and grass."
Errani now has six WTA titles to her name in total, her first two coming back in 2008 (here and in Portoroz, on hardcourts) and the four so far this year.
"I haven't planned my schedule for next year yet, it will depend on a lot of things, but Palermo is a very special tournament for me," Errani continued.
Speaking of schedules, Errani will now head to Bastad, Sweden for the Sony Swedish Open, also part of the International-level summer clay court season.
Zahlavova Strycova is now 1-2 in WTA finals, her lone title coming on the indoor hardcourts of Québec City last year and her other two WTA finals both coming on clay, at Prague two years ago and now Palermo this year. But she didn't leave empty-handed - she won the doubles title with Renata Voracova on Saturday, their second WTA doubles title together. Zahlavova Strycova has 17 WTA doubles titles to her name now, while Voracova owns eight.
"It was still a great week for me. Making the final and winning the doubles title were just great," Zahlavova Strycova said. "I have to congratulate Sara on her week. She has been playing great this year and was too tough today."