Zheng tops Paolini to win at Palermo for 1st title

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PALERMO, Sicily — Rising Chinese player Zheng Qinwen beat local favorite Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 to win the Palermo Open on Sunday and claim the first title of her career.

The second-seeded Zheng complained about a ringing phone in the stands when she double-faulted on her first match point but then converted her third opportunity with a smash.

The 20-year-old Zheng’s previous best result was a runner-up finish in Tokyo last year.

Ranked 26th, Zheng is China’s top player, while Paolini is No. 52. A year ago, Zheng was No. 47.

Zheng is coached by Wim Fissette, who previously worked with Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka. Zheng made her WTA main-draw debut in Palermo two years ago as a qualifier on the red clay courts of the Country Time Club.

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