PALERMO, Sicily — Top-seeded Petra Martić rallied past Russian qualifier Liudmila Samsonova 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the Palermo Ladies Open quarterfinals Thursday in the first tournament following a five-month break due to the coronavirus.
“The struggle was real out there today,” Martić said after the 2 ½-hour match.“She’s not the type of player I like to play. She plays really fast, hits really flat and low. And especially on these (clay) courts it can be tricky.
“Overall I didn’t really enjoy myself out there. But I realized right away that it was not going to be easy and I was going to have to fight.”
Martić will next face another qualifier, Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
Also advancing was fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit, who also had to come from behind to defeat Laura Siegemund 3-6, 6-2, 6-2. Kontaveit’s quarterfinal opponent will be Italian wild-card entry Elisabetta Cocciaretto.
In yet another three-set comeback win, Italy’s Camila Giorgi eliminated Slovenian qualifier Kaja Juvan 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Players and officials for the tournament are being tested every four days for COVID-19 and one player who tested positive withdrew over the weekend. New protocols include fewer ball kids, a limited number of fans and no post-match handshakes between opponents.
LYON, France — Unseeded American Alycia Parks secured a stunning 7-6 (7), 7-5 upset win over WTA Finals champion Caroline Garcia in the Open Metropole de Lyon final to clinch her first career title.
“I think France has a special part in my heart right now,” Parks said. “I’ll be back next year.”
The 22-year-old Parks, who is ranked 79th, had 15 aces and saved all four break points against the top-seeded Garcia.
Parks secured the only break of a tight contest to win the match.
The fifth-ranked Garcia, a U.S. Open semifinalist last year, was seeking a 12th career title.
“Congrats on a great tournament,” Garcia told Parks in English. “If you keep playing like this for sure you’re going to keep going up (the rankings).”
Parks has a career-best ranking of 75th.
The 29-year-old Garcia, who grew up in Lyon, took time to thank her home crowd – this time in French.
“It means a lot to play here, thanks for being here,” Garcia said. “You supported me from the first point to the last. Thanks for all your encouragement.”
HUA HIN, Thailand — Zhu Lin of China won her maiden career title after beating Lesia Tsurenko of Ukraine 6-4, 6-4 in the final of the Thailand Open.
In a match lasting one hour and 45 minutes, both players exchanged nail-biting baseline rallies before Zhu finally found a way past her determined opponent.
The 29-year-old Chinese player managed a break to go up 5-3 in the first set. Although she was broken to love in the following game, Zhu returned the favor straight back, also to love, to take the opening set in 46 minutes.
The second saw players trade breaks with Zhu eventually securing her first match point at 5-3. She sprayed a shot wide to miss the chance but capitalized on her third in the 10th game with a backhand winner.
“I’m so happy to finally win my first tour title. All the hard work finally paid off,” said the No. 54-ranked Zhu, who will crack the top 50 when the new WTA rankings are updated.
Zhu has started the season strongly, reaching the quarter-finals in Auckland and the last 16 at the Australian Open.
The victory also allowed Zhu to avenge her loss to the Ukrainian at the WTA Dubai Championships back in 2019.
Despite the loss, the No. 136-ranked Tsurenko, 33, will return to the top 100.