No.5 seed Elise Mertens of Belgium charged to her first title of the year with a 6-2, 6-0 dismantling of No.3 seed Alizé Cornet of France at the inaugural Jasmin Open on Sunday.
Mertens captured her seventh career title after the 80-minute match, reeling off the last 11 games of the affair. Mertens edges ahead 3-2 in her head-to-head against Cornet with the victory.
The champion speaks: "It means a lot," Mertens said after her win. "I had a pretty tough year. When they said I was in my first semifinal this year, I was like, ‘OK, it’s October, it’s never too late to start the year, or end the year with a good one.’ So I’m very happy about it.
"It gives you confidence, and it gives you a little boost for all the work that you do. Never stop believing, I guess, and I have my seventh title."
Return to the winner's circle: The first Hologic WTA Tour event in Tunisia helps turn around the season for former World No.12 Mertens, who had reached only two quarterfinals in 2022 coming into Monastir, and lost both.
This week, Mertens reached her first final since Istanbul in April of last year, and she claimed her first title since winning Melbourne's Gippsland Trophy over Kaia Kanepi in February of last year.
Match breakdown: Mertens dropped two sets en route to the final, but on Sunday she was totally in charge, winning 83 percent of her first-service points. Mertens converted five of her nine break points and saved all three of the break points she faced.
Cornet matched Mertens with 10 winners, but she had seven more unforced errors than the Belgian, including a number of ill-timed patches of double faults. Cornet finished the match with nine double faults in total, while Mertens had just one.
After saving two break points in a hold for 2-2, Mertens grabbed hold of the match in the next game, converting her fourth break point to lead 3-2 and never looking back from there. A rally overhead winner gave Mertens a second break and a 5-2 lead, and the Belgian served out the opening set.
In the second set, an amazing angled pass gave Mertens a break point for a 3-0 lead, which Cornet ceded after slamming an overhead into the net. Two games later, a volley winner gave Mertens a 5-0 advantage, and she finished off the clash with a routine love hold to take home the title.
Doubles final: The first tour-level event in Monastir wrapped up with the doubles championship, which ended up having the same exact scoreline as the singles final.
No.1 seeds Kristina Mladenovic and Katerina Siniakova dismissed No.2 seeds Miyu Kato and Angela Kulikov 6-2, 6-0 in just 55 minutes to clinch the doubles crown.
Mladenovic, a former WTA Doubles World No.1, and Siniakova, the current WTA Doubles World No.1, converted half of their 14 break points en route to triumph in their very first professional event as a pair.
It is Mladenovic's 28th career WTA doubles title, and her fourth of the year. Mladenovic won the Roland Garros title this season alongside Caroline Garcia.
The other three 2022 majors were won by top-ranked Siniakova, with her regular partner Barbora Krejcikova. Monastir is Siniakova's 20th career WTA doubles title, and her sixth of the season.