Begu battles past Bronzetti to end WTA title drought in Palermo

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Irina-Camelia Begu ended her five-year wait for another WTA title by beating home favourite Lucia Bronzetti to claim the Palermo Open crown.

The Romanian captured her fifth trophy on the tour – and a first since triumphing in her native Bucharest in 2017 – as she prevailed 6-2 6-2 in one hour and 33 minutes on Sunday.

This was Begu's ninth career final and her experience showed against Bronzetti, who was appearing in her maiden championship match.

The 31-year-old Begu broke her opponent's serve six times on the way to becoming the second Romanian to triumph on the WTA Tour this year, after Simona Halep captured a title in Melbourne in January.

Nerves were evident early on as the opening three games went against serve, before Begu held in the fourth to take command.

The sixth seed had been on court for over three hours as she overcame fourth seed Sara Sorribes Tormo in a thrilling late-night semi-final on Saturday.

She was well on top against Bronzetti, though, breaking again and winning 80 per cent of points when landing her first serve as she took the opening set.

World number 78 Bronzetti had taken out France's Caroline Garcia and Italian compatriot Jasmine Paolini to reach her maiden WTA final.

However, she had little answer to Begu, who broke twice early in the second set to establish a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Bronzetti broke back to reduce the deficit to 3-2, but the world number 45 pulled away again before a thumping ace sealed the deal.

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