Errani having clay-court revival in Palermo


PALERMO, Sicily — Former French Open finalist Sara Errani showed signs of reviving her clay-court prowess by rallying past Kristýna Plíšková 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 Wednesday to reach the Palermo Ladies Open quarterfinals.

It was the second consecutive three-set win for Errani, who received a wild-card entry for the first tour-level tournament — for men or women — following a five-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Errani will next face rising French player Fiona Ferro, who beat eighth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova 7-5, 6-2.

Also, qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich eased past Jasmine Paolini 6-0, 6-2 for her fifth win in five days; and 19-year-old wild-card entry Elisabetta Cocciaretto of Italy eliminated sixth-seeded Donna Vekić 6-2, 6-4.

Players and officials for the tournament are being tested every four days for COVID-19 and one player who tested positive withdrew over the weekend. New protocol includes fewer ball kids, a limited number of fans and no post-match handshakes between opponents.

Errani, who lost the 2012 French Open final to Maria Sharapova, had struggled to regain her form after serving a two-month ban in 2017 due to an anti-doping violation. Her ranking is down from a career-high of No. 5 in 2013 to No. 169.

“I’m a bit calmer now and I’m able to impose my game better,” Errani said. “I’m more into the matches — not more focused, but I know more of what I need to do.”

Palermo brings back good memories for Errani, who won the Sicilian tournament twice and also finished runner-up twice — to go with three titles in the doubles event.

It was Errani’s 180th career win on clay — more than any other active player.

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