No.1 seed Alison Van Uytvanck has captured the title at the Veneto Open Internazionali Confindustria Venezia e Rovigo -- also known as Gaibledon -- without dropping a set, culminating in a 6-4, 6-3 final defeat of Sara Errani in 68 minutes.
It is Van Uytvanck's third career trophy at WTA 125 level following Taipei 2013 and Limoges 2021. She also owns five WTA 250 titles, with the most recent coming in Nur-Sultan last September.
The title run continues a stellar 2022 grass-court season for the Belgian. Her record on the surface this year is now 12-1, having also triumphed at the Surbiton ITF W100 two weeks ago; her only loss during this spell came in a third-set tiebreak against Aryna Sabalenka in the 's-Hertogenbosch quarterfinals last week.
"I didn't expect this at all," said Van Uytvanck afterwards. "I just wanted to have as many possible matches on grass. I never thought I would be able to win 12 matches. I just hope I can keep it going another two weeks and have a great run at Wimbledon as well.
"Being able to play 7-6 in the third with someone like Sabalenka, who's been Top 10 for some years now - that means something for me. The level is there. Beating [Elise] Mertens, who's been in the Top 30 for four or five years now. These are things that give you confidence."
Van Uytvanck has thrived on grass throughout her career. Last year, she also won the Nottingham ITF W100 title; in 2018, she upset defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza en route to the fourth round of Wimbledon. The 28-year-old's combination of a formidable serve and superb hand skills was showcased once again on the low-bouncing courts of Gaiba, where only Harmony Tan in the semifinals took her as far as a tiebreak.
Former World No.5 Errani's talents were also enhanced by the conditions in Gaiba. The Italian's ranking has fallen to No.213, but her courtcraft and ability to excel at net were both brought to the fore. Errani kicked off her tournament with a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 upset of No.2 seed Madison Brengle in the first round, and went on to the very first grass-court final of her career at the age of 35.
However, Van Uytvanck was too strong in the final. The World No.47 dropped only four points behind her first serve, saved five of the six break points she faced, and sealed her first championship point after Errani netted a backhand volley.
"The court was tricky, so you have to be aggressive," said Van Uytvanck afterwards. "Try to go to net as fast as possible. Serve well, return well, and just be focused all the time. That's what you have to do on grass.
"There was one side where you had to play more short, low balls because it wasn't bouncing as much. I saw Sara was also doing that a little bit. It was more like we were playing chess at one point than tennis. But it's fun if someone else is also seeing the game like that. You have fun together and may the best person win. Chess tennis, it's a new sport!"
Frenchwomen Tan, Parry deliver strong tournament
The tournament's two semifinalists were also players known for their touch and improvisational ability. Tan upset No.3 seed Lucia Bronzetti 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round and went on to the last four of a tournament for the first time at any level in 2022.
No.6 seed Diane Parry, who made waves at Roland Garros with a first-round upset of defending champion Barbora Krejcikova, also continued her superb form. The 19-year-old had previously delivered her most notable results on clay; however, her single-handed backhand proved that it could transfer well to grass as she overcame the relentless slicing of Tatjana Maria 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals.
Brengle, Liu capture doubles title
Unseeded American duo Madison Brengle and Claire Liu also became Gaiba champions without dropping a set, defeating Vitalia Diatchenko and Oksana Kalashnikova 6-4, 6-3 to claim the doubles title.
Brengle and Liu had previously won singles WTA 125 titles before, but it was a career-best doubles success for both players.