Palermo Open: Donna Vekic wins as WTA Tour resumes in Italy


Vekic is number 24 in the women’s rankings

Donna Vekic won the first main-draw match following the resumption of the WTA Tour as she beat Arantxa Rus in the first round of the Palermo Open.

The Croatian beat her Dutch opponent 6-1 6-2 at the clay-court event on the Italian island of Sicily.

The tournament marks the return of professional tennis for the first time since March, when it was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was definitely a little bit strange,” said 24-year-old Vekic.

“I was really nervous. But after the first two games, I just kind of relaxed and I was focused.”

The event went ahead despite an unnamed player withdrawing in the build up after testing positive for coronavirus.

A handful of fans were allowed to attend the match with social distancing measures and temperature checks in place.

The players did not shake hands with the referee or each other, while they also had to manage their own towels.

“I’m just happy that I didn’t forget how to play tennis, how to play matches, how to win. It’s a huge relief,” added Vekic.

Elsewhere, Italy’s Sara Errani took nearly three hours to beat Romanian Sorana Cirstea 7-5 1-6 6-4, while Germany’s Laura Siegemund was a 6-3 6-4 winner against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.

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