W125 Trophée Lagardère
American Claire Liu claimed the biggest title of her career by winning the inaugural Trophée Lagardère in Paris, defeating Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia, 6-2 6-3, in the final on Sunday in an hour 37 minutes.
I grew up on clay, training at the USTA centre in Carson. I try to be able to do everything in my game, so hopefully I can do well on every surface, but the clay helps me move and get one extra ball back. Claire Liu
The 7th seed upset 3rd seeded Haddad Maia, avenging the loss she suffered in Saint-Malo.
On the clay courts of the Lagardère Paris Racing club in the Bois du Boulogne, Liu saved all 13 break points she faced, and captured the Haddad Maia serve once in each set for an efficient victory.
“She’s such a good player and she’s been winning so many matches, so I knew it was going to be tough,” said Liu afterwards. “I just tried to stay on my side of the court and play my game.
“I didn’t play as well last week, and she played very well – today was just a little bit of a reversal, I just played a couple of the big points well.”
The 21-year-old dropped just one set all week, in her 6-4 2-6 6-0 semi-final upset of No 1 seed Kaia Kanepi from Estonia, her 4th career Top 50 win.
Liu was the 2016 Wimbledon junior champion, but all 7 of her professional trophies have come on clay.
“I grew up on clay, training at the USTA centre in Carson,” Liu said. “I try to be able to do everything in my game, so hopefully I can do well on every surface, but the clay helps me move and get one extra ball back.”
25-year old Haddad Maia captured her own first WTA 125 title in Saint-Malo the previous week, and extended her winning streak to 9 matches in Paris.
In the doubles, top seed Haddad Maia & Kristina Mladenovic from France swept to the title, dropping just 11 games in 3 matches en route to the final before overcoming No 2 seeds Oksana Kalashnikova and Miyu Kato, 5-7 6-4 [10-4], to lift the trophy.
Mladenovic has won 24 WTA doubles titles, including 5 Grand Slams, but this is the Frenchwoman’s first trophy of any description since Roland Garros 2020, while Haddad Maia had previously won 3 WTA doubles titles, including Sydney in January alongside Anna Danilina.
WTA 125 Liqui Moly Open
Egypt’s Mayar Sherif defended her singles title at the WTA 125 Liqui Moly Open in Karlsruhe, Germany, with a straight-sets victory over American Bernarda Pera, 6-2 6-4, and then captured the doubles title alongside Panna Udvardy from Hungary.
“I’m very happy with my performance, especially because last week I didn’t do as well mentally,” the 2nd seed said after avenging her 2nd-round loss to Pera at WTA 125 Saint-Malo a week ago. “I had my goals in my mind, and I just couldn’t have a better result.”
Sherif did not drop a set in the singles draw all week, and she is now 10-for-10 in singles at Karlsruhe over the last two seasons.
The Egyptian No 1 has now won 3 WTA 125 singles titles over the past 8 months, and also won the first WTA 125 event of this season in Marbella.
Sherif followed her singles win by capturing the doubles title as well, partnering Udvardy to a 5-7 6-4 [10-2], win over Yana Sizikova & Alison van Uytvanck.
The Egyptian headed to this week’s WTA 250 event in Rabat with ‘a lot of confidence’.
“Hopefully I make it to Rabat! And I make it in one piece, because probably I’ll be a little tired tomorrow,” she said. “But you know what, I’m just going to get onto the court and do my job, and whatever comes out.”
WTA 250 Internationaux de Strasbourg
Sloane Stephens, the 6th seed, was upset on Monday in the first round of the Internationaux de Strasbourg by the 306th-ranked player in the world, Nefisa Berberovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, who lost the first set but rallied to defeat the American, 2-6 6-4 6-1 in an hour, 54 minutes.
Top-seeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic, No 2 seed Angelique Kerber of Germany, 4th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium and No 9 seed Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland all advanced in straight sets to the Round of 16.
Shuai Zhang, the 5th seed from China, however, was a casualty, losing 6-2 6-3 to Belgian Maryna Zanevska.
WTA 250 Morocco Open
Top-seeded Garbiñe Muguruza from Spain defeated Kazakhstan’s Anna Danilina, 6-3 6-2, in first-round action at Rabat in Morocco, while her compatriot, Nuria Parrizas Diaz, the 3rd seed, needed 2 hours and 27 minutes to get past Canada’s Carol Zhao, 7-6(4) 1-6 6-2.
Italy’s Lucia Bronzetti ousted No 8 seed Anna Kalinskaya of Russia, 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3, while 7th-seeded Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands beat Switzerland’s Lulu Sun in straight sets.