(Reuters) – Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro became the first champion of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) in five months on Sunday by beating Anett Kontaveit 6-2 and 7-5 to win the Ladies Open. from Palermo, the first event of the tour since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic.
Ferro won 10 games at regional exhibition events after the circuit was suspended in March and continued to gain momentum with five more victories in Palermo this week, as tennis returned to the Sicilian capital.
“It was my best game of the week,” said Ferro, 23, after winning his second career title with a command display. “I felt relaxed (…) I don’t know why, because it was a final! I wasn’t feeling pressure at all. ”
Several exhibition events have taken place around the world since the sport was suspended in early March due to the pandemic, but the women’s clay tournament in Palermo was the first of the elite WTA and ATP tournaments in five months.
There were strict health protocols, such as a limited number of fans and a ban on handshakes between players after the match.
Athletes and championship officials had to be tested for COVID-19 every four days, and a positive test player withdrew from the tournament last weekend.
(Report by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, edited in Spanish by Gabriel Burin)