The third time was the charm for 21-year-old Cocciaretto, who had finished as a WTA 125 runner-up at 2020 Prague and Makarska earlier this year. After a two-and-a-half-hour battle with Linette on the Mexican hard courts, Cocciaretto became a WTA 125 champion at last on late Saturday night.
Linette is the fourth seeded player Cocciaretto has defeated this week. Cocciaretto ousted No.2 seed Marie Bouzkova in the second round, No.7 seed Camila Osorio in the quarterfinals and No.6 seed Zhu Lin in the semifinals.
“It was a very tough week, I did a lot of tough matches with great opponents,” World No.79 Cocciaretto said, after her win.
“When the (last) ball went into the net, I said, ‘Oh my god, I won.’ And it was unexpected because this was an amazing tournament with an incredible level.
“I was saying to my coach, ‘OK, we will have more experience trying to do our best, to play with these opponents.’ But not for sure the win, because it was a very, very tough 125 tournament,” she added.
Cocciaretto has won eight of her last nine matches in Mexico. Last week at the WTA 1000 Guadalajara Open Akron, Cocciaretto won two qualifying matches and breezed past Anastasia Potapova in the first round before falling to Top 10 player Coco Gauff in two close sets.
In Tampico’s final, Linette came back from 3-1 down to serve for the first set at 5-3, but Cocciaretto broke back en route to a tiebreak. Linette took a 5-1 lead in the breaker behind powerful forehands, but Cocciaretto prevailed in lengthier rallies to sweep the last six points of the set.
Linette again faced break points when she served for the second set at 5-4, but she regrouped and leveled the match with an unreturnable serve. However, Cocciaretto extended rallies and drew errors to take early control of the third set, breaking for 3-1 after Linette led 40-0.
Cocciaretto continued to come out on top in gritty rallies as the decider progressed. The Italian claimed the last five games of the match, and she collapsed on the court in joy after Linette netted a backhand on the first championship point.
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