Charleston | Cocciaretto captures WTA 125 title

Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto, the No 4 seed, defeated young Russian Diana Shnaider, the 4th seed, 6-3 6-2, in the final of the Fifth Third Charleston 125 on Sunday to complete a title run in which she did not lose a set, while Britain’s Olivia Nicholls, partnering Olivia Gadecki from Australia, bagged the doubles title with a 6-2 6-1 win over another Italian, Sara Errani, and Tereza Mihalikova from Slovakia in the final.

Cocciaretto sealed her 3rd WTA 125 title, following Tampico 2022 and San Luis Potosi 2023, her 2nd on hard courts, while she also captured her first tour-level trophy at the Lausanne WTA 250 event last July.

Ranked 60 in the world, Cocciaretto was only taken to a tiebreak once in 5 matches, winning her semi-final over Belgium’s Greet Minnen, 7-6(4) 6-1, after coming from 1-4 down, and saving one set point in the first set.

19-year old Shnaider was contesting her 2nd WTA 125 final, following her title run at Montevideo in 2022, having also reached her first tour-level final in Ningbo last October, and claiming her first WTA 250 title in Hua Hin last month.

The Russian dropped just one set on her way to the final, defeating No 6 seed Wang Yafan, 3-6 6-3 6-3, in the Last 4.

Fast-rising American McCartney Kessler improved her 2024 record to 17-5 overall after qualifying and reaching the quarter-finals.

Ranked 123, Kessler upset 5th-seeded Zhu Lin from China, 3-6 6-4 7-5, in the 1st-round for the first Top 70 win of her career, and only fell to eventual champion Cocciaretto, 7-5 6-3, in the Last 8.

Kessler claimed her first WTA 125 title in Puerto Vallarta last month.

The 2nd-round of the tournament saw 2 players pull off remarkable come-backs, with qualifier Erika Andreeva from Russia saving 8 match points to overturn a 6-2, 5-3 deficit against No 9 seed Nao Hibino of Japan, eventually pulling through 2-6 7-6(3) 6-3 after 2 hours and 23 minutes.

19-year old Andreeva fended off the first 2 on her own serve, then 6 as Hibino served for the match at 5-4 in the 2nd set.

At the same stage, France’s Oceane Dodin edged No 3 seed Martina Trevisan from Italy, 7-5 4-6 7-6(9), in 3 hours and 1 minute, winning the longest 3rd-set tiebreak, by way of scoreline, this year, at either WTA 125 or main tour level.

The Frenchwoman saved 4 match points, the first 2 serving at 5-6 in the decider, and the next 2 in the tiebreak, before converting her 4th, and eventually falling 6-3 6-2 to Shnaider in the quarter-finals.

The two Olivias, Gadecki and Nicholls, won their second title with an emphatic win over Sara Errani & Tereza Mihalikova in the Fifth Third Charleston 125 doubles final on Sunday


Gadecki & Nicholls, the 2 Olivias, extended their winning streak to 7 matches in 2 tournaments after defeating the 4th-seeds, Errani & Mihalikova, in 62 minutes in the doubles final.

The Australian-British duo had also claimed their first tour-level title together in Austin two weeks ago.

Other British results of the week included a 1st-round loss by Harriet Dart to Hibino, 4-6 6-4 6-1, while Heather Watson fell in the opening round of qualifying to Australian alternate Taylah Preston, 6-4 4-6 6-3.

Dart & Watson combined in the doubles to defeat Spain’s Bassols Ribera & Arantxa Rus from the Netherlands, 4-6 6-1 [11-9], but then lost in the quarters to eventual finalists Errani & Mihalikova, 4-6 6-2 [10-6].



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