After a five-year wait, Irina-Camelia Begu is a champion again on the Hologic WTA Tour.
No.6 seed Begu of Romania dispatched Italian Lucia Bronzetti 6-2, 6-2 at the 33rd Palermo Ladies Open on Sunday to win her fifth career singles title. Begu's most recent previous title came in her home country at 2017 Bucharest, nearly five years ago to the day.
World No.45 Begu came into the championship match with a .500 record in finals (4-4), but she got back into the winner's circle with a 1-hour and 33-minute victory over 78th-ranked Bronzetti, who was contesting the first singles final of her career.
Words from the winner: Begu paid tribute to her team during the presentation ceremony. "Without you guys, I wouldn't have this trophy, so thank you again," she said while hoisting the cup.
Match moments: Begu triumphed often in the early lengthy rallies, breaking Bronzetti three times successively to lead 5-1. Bronzetti at last held serve for 5-2, but a backhand winner down the line wrapped up a love hold to give Begu the first set.
In the second set, Begu eased to a 3-0 lead, showing no visible fatigue after her 3-hour and 12-minute semifinal win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, which ended at 1:40 a.m. Sunday morning.
Bronzetti clawed one break back to edge closer in the second set, but Begu regrouped and won the last three games of the final, closing out the match with her second ace of the day.
All told, Begu dominated returning the Bronzetti second service, winning 11 of those 14 points. Begu converted six of her 12 break points on the day to clinch the crown.
Doubles delight: In Sunday's doubles final, No.3 seeds Anna Bondar and Kimberley Zimmermann defeated unseeded Amina Anshba and Panna Udvardy 6-3, 6-2 to take home the title in Palermo.
Bondar and Zimmermann had teamed up twice previously, both times at ITF Challenger events last year, where they won one title and reached another semifinal. Now with a title in their WTA debut as a partnership, Bondar and Zimmerman hold a 9-1 team win-loss record at all levels.
It took 1 hour and 12 minutes for Bondar and Zimmermann to prevail, dropping serve only once in the match while also converting five of their 10 break points.
Belgium's Zimmermann successfully defended her Palermo doubles title from last year, which she won alongside Erin Routliffe, to capture her second career WTA doubles title. For Bondar of Hungary, this is her first WTA title in either doubles or singles.