Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu won the WTA 250 33rd Palermo Ladies Open on Sunday evening, beating Italian Lucia Bronzetti, 6-2 6-2, to claim her first singles championships in 5 years to add to her 9 tour doubles titles.
Without you guys, I wouldn't have this trophy, so thank you again. Irina-Camelia Begu
The No 6 seed took control from the get-go on the red clay of the Country Time Club, and closed out the final out with an ace on her first match point after an hour and 33 minutes of play.
“This place is special for me because part of my family lives here,” Begu said.
31-year-old picked up her first title since winning the Bucharest Open in 2017 in her homeland.
On Sunday she converted 6 of 12 break points against Bronzetti, ranked 78, who was looking for her first career title on the WTA Tour, and won 67.6 percent of her first-serve points while the Italian prevailed on just 51.2 percent.
Bronzetti lost the first 3 games of the second set before winning the next 2 before Begu recovered her stride to close out the match.
Begu, the World No 45, came into the championship match with a 4-4 record in finals, but she got back into the winner’s circle with an impressive win, and paid tribute to her team during the trophy ceremony.
“Without you guys, I wouldn’t have this trophy, so thank you again,” she said while hoisting the cup.
The Romanian got the upper hand of the early lengthy rallies, breaking Bronzetti 3 times in succession to open up a 5-1 lead, when the Italian finally held her serve to narrow the gap, but a backhand winner down the line wrapped up a love hold to land Begu the first set.
In the second, the Romanian eased to a 3-0 lead, showing no visible fatigue after her 3-hour and 12-minute semi-final win over Sara Sorribes Tormo, which ended at 1:40 am on Sunday morning.
While Bronzetti clawed a break back to edge closer, Begu regrouped and won the last 3 games before closing out the match with her 2nd ace of the day.
All told, Begu dominated returning the Bronzetti second service, winning 11 of those 14 points.
Potentially, she could keep her winning streak alive next week at the BNP Paribas Poland Open in Warsaw, where she is the No 4 seed.
In Sunday’s doubles final, Hungarian Anna Bondar & Kimberley Zimmermann from Belgium, the No 3 seeds, defeated unseeded Russian Amina Anshba & Panna Udvardy, also from Hungary, 6-3 6-2, to take home the title in Palermo.
Bondar & Zimmermann had teamed up twice before, at ITF Challenger events last year, where they won one title and reached another semi-final.
Now, with a title in their WTA debut as a partnership, Bondar & Zimmerman hold a 9-1 team win-loss record at all levels.
It took an hour and 12 minutes for Bondar & Zimmermann to prevail, dropping serve only once in the match while also converting 5 of their 10 break points.
Zimmermann successfully defended her Palermo doubles title from last year, which she won alongside Erin Routliffe, to capture her 2nd career WTA doubles title.
For Bondar, this is her first WTA title in either doubles or singles.