Elise Mertens, the 5th seed from Belgium, won her 7th WTA title and the first of 2022 when she defeated France’s Alizé Cornet in straight sets to capture the inaugural Jasmin Open in Tunisia.
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. Elise Mertens
The World No 42 reeled off the last 11 games on Sunday as she swept to a dominant 6-2 6-0 victory over the French 3rd seed after just 80 minutes in Monastir.
“It means a lot,” Mertens said. “I had a pretty tough year.
“When they said I was in my first semi-final this year, I was like, ‘Okay, 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.”
It is Mertens first since winning the Gippsland Trophy last year, following a timely return to form off the back of a disappointing 2022 in which she had reached just 2 quarter-finals.
The Belgian had overcome Cornet in 3 sets when they met in St Petersburg earlier this year, and she quickly gained the upper hand in the 5th encounter between them.
Mertens rescued 2 break points to hold for 2-2, and grabbed hold of the match in the next game, converting her 4th 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, 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.
A late wild-card entry in Tunisia, Cornet had progressed to her first final since Chicago last year without dropping a set, and was targeting her first silverware since triumphing in Gstaad 4 years ago, but the World No 37 could not establish any momentum, and coughing up 9 double-faults that certainly hindered her progress.
Mertens fully capitalised by winning 83 per cent of her first-service points, while breaking a further 3 times as she breezed to a commanding victory that edges her ahead 3-2 in her head-to-head record against Cornet with the victory.
She had dropped two sets en route to the final but, on Sunday, she was totally in charge, converting 5 of her 9 break points and saving all 3 of the break points she faced.
Cornet matched Mertens with 10 winners, but she had 7 more unforced errors than the Belgian, including a number of ill-timed patches of double-faults, while the Belgian had just one.
The first tour-level event in Monastir wrapped up with the doubles final, which ended up having the same exact scoreline as the singles final.
No 1 seeds Kristina Mladenovic & Katerina Siniakova dismissed 2nd seeds Miyu Kato & 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 4th of the year, having also 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, and Monastir is the Czech’s 20th career WTA doubles title, and her 6th of the season.