In a championship battle between two of 2021’s breakthrough performers, Ann Li of the United States won her first career WTA singles title, defeating Camila Osorio of Colombia 6-1, 6-4 for the inaugural Tenerife Ladies Open crown.
After 1 hour, 10 minutes of play, it was 21-year-old Li who stormed to victory, denying 19-year-old Osorio her second title of the year.
Fast facts: Both Li and Osorio have made exceptional strides in 2021. Li and Osorio were ranked World No.112 and World No.190, respectively, one year ago, but now they are currently each just outside the Top 50, with multiple WTA singles finals to their credit.
But it was Li who prevailed in Tenerife on Sunday, in her second career final. Her first final at the Grampians Trophy in Melbourne earlier this year, against Sunday’s Moscow champion Anett Kontaveit, went unplayed just prior to the Australian Open.
Li’s triumphant run this week, where she reached her first tour-level quarterfinal since March, harkened back to her excellent start to the season. Li dropped her first set of the tournament to Nuria Parrizas Diaz in the opening round, but went a flawless 10-0 in sets after that.
Stat corner: Li had 15 winners to Osorio's 12 in the encounter, taking charge with powerful groundstrokes whenever she could hit through the speed and deft dropshots of Osorio.
Osorio, who won her first career title on home soil in Bogota this spring, came undone with unforced errors, firing 15 more miscues than Li's total. Li took control after drawing those errors, converting five of her ten break points to collect the breezy victory.
Key moments: Strong forehands by Osorio gave her a quick break in the first game of the match, but Li quickly turned around the set from there, firing thunderous overheads and pouncing on putaways to sweep the next six games. Li had eight winners to six unforced errors in the opener; by contrast, Osorio’s five winners were overwhelmed by 18 unforced errors.
Li grabbed her seventh game in a row, breaking Osorio at love with a forehand return winner in the first game of the second set. But Osorio pulled herself back into contention in the next game, breaking back immediately behind one of her excellent dropshots.
The second-set scoreline was much closer than the first’s, but Li was able to squeeze out another break at 2-2, and that proved to be the decisive factor. Li was not troubled on serve again, and she smoothly served out the chance for her first title at 5-4, wrapping up the match with another winning overhead.
Next week's plans: Li will be the No.9 seed in Courmayeur next week. She will face Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia in the first round.