PALERMO, Italy - Fiona Ferro capped off a winning week at the 31st Palermo Ladies Open with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No.4 seed Anett Kontaveit in the final, securing her second career WTA title.
"I think it was my best match of the week," Ferro said after the match. "I was feeling relaxed; I don't know why because it was a final! I wasn't really feeling pressure. It was a tough match because she's a really consistent player who doesn't give you too many points. I had a good intensity throughout the whole match, I didn't miss a lot, made a lot of winners, so I'm really happy to have the trophy with me."
Ferro had been undefeated in two regional exhibition tournaments held while the WTA tour was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and rode that momentum through five more wins with the loss of just one set in Palermo, ousting Kontaveit in one hour and 43 minutes on Center Court.
Her toughest encounter had come in the semifinals against home hope Camila Giorgi, who pushed the 23-year-old to a 7-5 final set on Saturday, but showed no ill effects from the physical clash 24 hours earlier, opening with a break to kick off her second WTA final appearance.
"Giorgi's game was very stressful and I didn't know how to handle it in the first set. It was definitely when I felt the least calm, so I felt much better today!"
Kontaveit, who had kicked off 2020 with a run to a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at the Australian Open - becoming the first from her country, man or woman, to make it that far at a major tournament - had been far more efficient in her semifinal win over top seed Petra Martic, but had few answers for Ferro's clean hitting in the opening set.
She dropped serve for a second time as Ferro earned a slew of set points in the following game, ultimately converting her sixth to move six games from victory.
The No.4 seed took enough positives from that titanic final game to start the second set on song, breaking early for a 2-0 lead, and keeping things close even as the Frenchwoman broke straight back.
Saving a break point in an extended sixth game, Kontaveit stepped in for a scintillating backhand winner to wrest momentum back from Ferro and find herself serving to level the match.
Undaunted, Ferro roared through the next three games to put herself four points from the title, striking a fearsome forehand return to break the Estonian at five games apiece.
One last service winner put Ferro over the finish line and earned her a second WTA title in straight sets.
"This title means a lot, especially after five tough months of practice. I was already feeling so happy just to be back on court and competing, so this is an even nicer way to finish the week with the win."