Lucia Bronzetti has won her career's maiden WTA title by defeating Julia Grabher in the final of WTA 250 tournament in Rabat. The battle between two unseeded finalists has ended up after 2:49 hours in the favour of the Italian, who won 6-4 5-7 7-5.
Road to the final
The finalists had some bumpy road to the final, but prevailed to eliminate the top seeds of both the main draw's halves. Bronzetti's path to the final was more difficult on paper, as she needed to overcome 8th seed Tatjana Maria, 4th seed Alycia Parks and 2nd seed Sloane Stephens in three consecutive matches. The first one was the thoughest, as Bronzetti was down a set and break to Maria and turned over the match against the German to win this 6-7(1) 6-4 7-5 eventually after 2:53 hours of battle. The other matches were more comfortable for the Italian, as she have eliminated two Americans in quarters and semis without losing a set.
Grabher started her week from a three-setter against Ysaline Bonaventure. The Austrian has faced a top seed Martina Trevisan in the quarters. Trevisan was on the mission to defend the points from the last year's win in Morocco, but pulled out from the match after first set, which was won by Grabher 6-3. Julia Riera was the opponent of Grabher in the semifinals. The 20 years-old Argentinian was the biggest sensation of this tournament. Riera, currently ranked 195th in the WTA list, performed two big upsets on much higher rated players. The Argentinian has defeated Mayar Sherif in second round, winning in straight sets despite being rated with an odd 4.27 before the match. Yulia Putintseva was also a confident favorite ahead of the quarters match against Riera, but the world's number 195 rated with a pre-match odd 3.40 has won it in 3 sets. The semifinal between Grabher and Riera was a tight clash decided in really close third set's tiebreak, where the Austrian clinched the victory with a score 6-1 3-6 7-6(6).
The final was not less exciting than some of the battles throughout whole the week in Rabat. Bronzetti was on the front foot from the start, as she won the opening set 6-4 and was quite close to win in straight sets after gaining the break in 9th game of second set. The current world's number 102 had a chance to serve for the win, but Grabher won 3 games in a row since then to force the decider. The momentum switched on the favour of the Austrian, as she was putting the pressure on her opponent since the start of third set and moved into the lead with a score 3-1. Bronzetti managed to fight back and won 4 games in a row to stay ahead another chance of serving for the match. Same as in previous set, the Italian failed to close the match within own serve, but another plot twist did not come true this time, as she regained break advantage in the 11th game and successfully served for the victory in third attempt a while later.
The decision to compete in Morocco in the preeceding week before Roland Garros was beneficial for both the finalists. Lucia Bronzetti gains 37 spots to move up into 65th place in the WTA rankings, while Julia Grabher lifts up into 61th place, which is her new career's peak. Julia Riera has also gained a lot, as the Argentinian semifinalist moves up into 148th, 47 places higher than week ago. Bronzetti and Grabher have not too much time to rest, as they both appear in the main draw of Roland Garros. Grabher plays against Arantxa Rus in the opening round, while Bronzetti had less luck in the draw, as she faces the world's number 7 Ons Jabeur there.