After a less than stellar start to her 2015 season, Sara Errani took part in a strong week on the red clay in Rio to defeat Anna Schmiedlova and lift the Rio Open title.
While the Italian’s win is a notable victory and edges her closer to an eventual return to the Top 10 in the WTA rankings, the biggest story this week was rising star Anna Schmiedlova, who had never reached the quarter-final stage of a WTA event prior to this week in Rio.
The youngster even put up a fight in the final, where she pushed Errani to a tiebreak in the opening set before being overwhelmed by the Italian in the second set to lose 7-6(2), 6-1.
“She was moving really well and she’s a really great player,” Schmiedlova said. “I played some very good tennis in the first set – the second set was worse, but I’m so happy I was in the final. This week gave me a lot of confidence. I hope it helps me in my next tournaments.”
With the victory on Sunday, Errani won her eighth title on the WTA tour.
“The first set was tough. We played more than an hour,” Errani said. “We were both fighting hard in that set – she was playing very well and not giving me anything, really. It was also the first time I played her so I needed some time to find my tactics. I was happy I managed to win that set, and in the second set things started going much more my way. I think I was just physically stronger in the end.
“Winning a title is always special. This tournament was great and I leave with only good memories.”
As someone who was a former No. 5 ranked player, Errani will rise from No.16 to No.12 on this week’s WTA Rankings.
“I’m aware that I’m close to getting back to the Top 10, but right now my goal is to keep trying to play my best and keep trying to improve,” Errani said. “If that happens I think the ranking will come.”