No.7 seed Claire Liu became the inaugural Trophée Lagardère champion after defeating No.3 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-3, 6-4 in the final to claim her first WTA 125 title.
The American had lost 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 to eventual champion Haddad Maia in the quarterfinals of last week's 125 event in Saint-Malo, but reversed the result in 1 hour and 37 minutes. On the clay courts of the Lagardère Paris Racing club in the Bois du Boulogne, Liu saved all 13 break points she faced, and captured the Haddad Maia serve once in each set for an efficient victory.
"She's such a good player and she's been winning so many matches, so I knew it was going to be tough," said Liu afterwards. "I just tried to stay on my side of the court and play my game. I didn't play as well last week, and she played very well - today was just a little bit of a reversal, I just played a couple of the big points well."
This week, No.118-ranked Liu had fallen out of the Top 100 for the first time since breaking it last August - but she is guaranteed an immediate return to it after her title run. Across the week, the 21-year-old dropped just one set, in her 6-4, 2-6, 6-0 semifinal upset of No.1 seed Kaia Kanepi that was also her fourth career Top 50 win.
Liu was the 2016 Wimbledon junior champion, but all seven of her professional trophies have come on clay.
"I grew up on clay, training at the USTA centre in Carson," Liu said. "I try to be able to do everything in my game, so hopefully I can do well on every surface, but the clay helps me move and get one extra ball back."
Haddad Maia maintains form with battling run
No.52-ranked Haddad Maia had captured her own first WTA 125 title in Saint-Malo the previous week, and extended her winning streak to nine matches in Paris. The 25-year-old reached the final the hard way, coming out on top of four three-setters to do so.
In the first round, Haddad Maia trailed Daria Saville 4-1 in the third set, but pulled through 7-5, 6-7(3), 7-6(4) in 3 hours and 15 minutes. She backed that up by defeating Hailey Baptiste 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the second round, wildcard Elsa Jacquemot 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in the quarterfinals and Ana Bogdan 5-7, 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals.
Jacquemot, the 2020 Roland Garros junior champion, also continued to surge. The 19-year-old has risen from a year-end ranking of No.314 to a career-high of No.229 this season already, and will be lifted further after her first WTA 125 quarterfinal showing. Jacquemot took out No.5 seed Anna Kalinskaya 7-5, 6-0 in the second round for her third career Top 100 win.
Wildcard Linda Fruhvirtova, 17, was another young talent making an impact. The Czech defeated Christina McHale 6-1, 6-2 in the first round before pushing Kanepi hard in a 7-6(4), 6-4 second-round loss.
Haddad Maia, Mladenovic take doubles title
No.1 seeds Haddad Maia and Kristina Mladenovic swept to the doubles title, dropping just 11 games in three matches en route to the final before overcoming No.2 seeds Oksana Kalashnikova and Miyu Kato 5-7, 6-4, [10-4] for the trophy.
Mladenovic has won 24 WTA doubles titles, including five Grand Slams, but this is the Frenchwoman's first trophy of any description since Roland Garros 2020. Haddad Maia had previously won three WTA doubles titles, including Sydney in January alongside Anna Danilina.