PALERMO, Italy - No.4 seed Tamara Zidansek is the first main draw winner in the WTA's return to Sicily.
The Slovenian christened the return of tour-level women's tennis to southern Italy with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Spain's Lara Arruabarrena in the first round of the Palermo Ladies Open.
The International-level event, a staple in the WTA calendar from 1990-2013, returned to the circuit this year after a five-year absence.
"It was the first match of the tournament and I'm really happy that I won," Zidansek said. "I lost to her a couple of months ago in Bogota so I'm really glad with the win in my first tournament after Wimbledon. This is a good start."
The World No.56 made a statement in her tournament debut, as she dispatched Arruabarrena in one hour and 20 minutes, broke serve six times and saved 10 of the 13 break points she faced.
Despite losing serve twice in the opener after building an early 4-0 lead, Zidansek broke the World No.152 in each of the Spaniard's four service games to wrap up the first set.
Her string of breaks extended to five to start the second set, as Zidansek again build a 3-0 lead, and though Arruabarrena briefly made a push to level at 3-3, the No.4 seed won the last three games to seal the two-set win.
"I think I really played well with the forehand topspin, which made her run a lot," the Slovenian assessed.
"That was my game plan from the start and I executed it well. It's really hot and there's not a lot of tournaments like this. I thought it was going to be hotter, but you just have to go with it."
Up next for the No.4 seed is the winner of the match between Russian lucky loser Ludmilla Samsonova and Australian qualifier Jaimee Fourlis.
"I played against Samsonova in Doha. I lost, but it wasn't my best match," Zidansek said.
"I haven't played against Jaimee, but obviously they're both good. I'll take a look at that match and prepare well."