PALERMO, Italy - Fiona Ferro is into her second career WTA final after coming back from a set down to home favorite Camila Giorgi at the 31st Palermo Ladies Open.
Ferro recovered emphatically after dropping her first set of the tournament to an on-fire Giorgi who was looking to reach her first final on Italian soil. But Ferro turned the match around to seal a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory and move into her first final of the year.
“I would have never won those kinds of matches two years ago,” Ferro reflected in her post-match press confernce. “I used to focus a lot on my opponent when she was playing aggressive, and I didn’t find solutions.
“Today I’m very happy to be through because I managed to maybe focus more on my game and not on my emotions.”
The Frenchwoman came into the tournament on a confident high after going 10-0 in an FFT domestic exhibition during the tour’s break. She claimed her first back-to-back match wins since the 2019 US Open after defeating qualifier Nadia Podoroska in the opening round, and backed it up with an upset over No.8 Ekaterina Alexandrova and a victory over former Palermo champion Sara Errani in the quarterfinals.
For the second night in a row, Ferro dashed the partisan spectators’ hope for home success - this time up against Italian No.1 Giorgi. Giorgi got off to a fast start after jumping out to a double-break lead, 4-0, and kept Ferro on the run as she fearlessly painted the lines with her groundstrokes. She overpowered Ferro to take the opening set, 6-2.
“The first set was very tough for me, because she was playing fast and I was always late,” Ferro said. “She’s not the player I usually like to play because she’s trying a winner on every shot, so it’s not easy to play against her.
“But then I tried to focus more on my game and not hers, to prepare earlier and just be more aggressive. And I think I served better in the second and third set.”
Ferro made adjustments in the second set, and was rewarded with an early break to lead 2-0. She attacked the Italian’s second serve and dialed up the aggression to extend her lead to 4-1. Although Giorgi continued to fight and grabbed one of the breaks back, Ferro broke straight back to make it 5-2 before closing out the set, 6-2.
Photo gallery: Palermo 2020: The story of the tournament
The third set was a tense affair with both players in their rhythm, and it was Ferro who once again claimed the early break to open up a 3-1 lead. Big-hitting Giorgi played more fearlessly as the match reached its final stages, and she blasted pinpoint accurate returns to break Ferro who was serving for the match, leveling the score at 5-5. But the Frenchwoman recovered in the next game to reclaim her lead and booked her spot in the final with a 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 victory after just over two hours.
“You always hope to be in the final in the beginning of the week, but you never know if it’s going to happen,” Ferro said. “I had a good preparation for this tournament because I played some matches in July in France. I think that helped me when I got here, because I was ready.”
No.4 seed Anett Kontaveit awaits in the final, seeking her first title on clay. Kontaveit powered past top seed Petra Martic in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4 earlier in the day to advance. The pair will contest their second career meeting, although it will be their first WTA-level clash. Kontaveit owns the 1-0 head-to-head lead after defeating Ferro at an ITF event in 2016.
“It feels so good [to be in the final],” Ferro said. “Right now I’m a little bit tired, but so is she. She’s a player who serves very well. I played her in France four years ago I think and I lost in three tight sets.
“The challenge is that she’s aggressive, she’s consistent and she serves well, so I will try to focus on my own game and be aggressive and try to play with my forehand. And we’ll see how it goes.”
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