China’s Zheng Qinwen wins maiden WTA title

AFP_China’s Zheng Qinwen captured her first WTA title on Sunday with a three-sets victory over Jasmine Paolini of Italy in the Palermo clay-court final.

The 20-year-old Zheng, ranked at 26 in the world, came through 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 against her 52nd-ranked opponent, registering her 20th match win of the year.

It was Zheng’s second career final after finishing runner-up in Tokyo last year.

She becomes the 11th Chinese woman to win a WTA singles title and second in 2023 after Zhu Lin triumphed at Hua Hin in Thailand in February.

“I won my first WTA match here and also my first WTA title, but you probably don’t know that I won my first ITF championship in Italy,” said Zheng, whose three-hour semi-final win over Mayar Sherif of Egypt only ended in the early hours of Sunday.

“This is really special for me. This is my first WTA 250 championship. I will remember that.”

The 27-year-old Paolini was playing her fourth three-set match of the week, having already knocked out top seed Daria Kasatkina in the quarter-finals.

The effort took its toll as Zheng stretched to a 5-1 lead in the decider before claiming victory on a third match point.