VILLENEUVE-LOUBET, France - A surprise winner captured the trophy from the third and final leg of the FFT's Elite Challenge, as 22-year-old Harmony Tan defeated Alizé Cornet, 7-6(6), 6-3, to conclude the national exhibition event.
Over the last three weeks, 12 of France's best players participated in an invitation singles tournament in both round robin and knockout formats to prepare for the tour's official restart next month, and World No.242 Tan beat three players ranked above her over the course of final week.
Tan's victory in Satuday's final also reversed the result of the pair's round-robin match in Group B, which was won by Cornet, 6-2, 6-3, and allowed the 30-year-old to advance first out of the group with Tan in second. Both women also recorded wins over World No.369 Irina Ramialison in the group stage.
In the rematch, Tan rallied from a break down in the opener, saving a set point in the processed as Cornet served for the set at 5-4, and later came from 3-0 down in the tiebreak.
Veteran Cornet triumphed over two of the most promising French 17-year-olds in her quarterfinal and semifinal knockout rounds, beating current junior World No.6 Elsa Jacquemot, 6-1, 6-2, and former junior World No.1 Diane Parry, 7-6(5), 6-2.
On the other side of the draw, Tan cruised to a 6-2, 6-1 win over Chloe Paquet, ranked nearly 70 places above her, in the quarterfinals, before continuing her good form with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Pauline Parmentier in the final four.
French No.3 Fiona Ferro, who won the first two legs of the exhibition tournament in Nice and Cannes with a 10-0 record, did not to participate in the third and final leg, while Kristina Mladenovic, beaten by Ferro in a match tiebreak in both finals, played just one set in Group A before withdrawing from the tournament.
The former World No.10 retired from her round-robin match against Jacquemot after a 6-3 opening set, and issued a walkover in her second scheduled match against Amandine Hesse.