There were two hard court WTA events to enjoy over the past week as the tour set its sights on Indian Wells.
Canadian Leylah Fernandez won an epic to defend her title in Monterrey while China’s Zhang Shuai ruled all comers in Lyon.
Fernandez was forced to work hard in a three-hour encounter with Colombian Camila Osorio, saving five match points on her way to a 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-6(3) victory.
“Today it was a very, very tough match, not only physically or tennis-wise but mentally,” said Fernandez post-match.
“Camila, she’s a tough player to play against. She’s very crafty, she does slices, high balls, it’s very unpredictable.
“I’m very, very happy to have gone through these hard moments, and have fought, found solutions. And Camila, I hope we have many, many more finals like this, because without her, I don’t think this tournament, this final, would be [as] special.”
Mexico seems to be a happy hunting ground for Fernandez who has won both of her WTA titles in Monterrey while coming runner-up in Acapulco in 2020.
As for Osorio, she is one to watch as the year drags on. The 20-year-old Colombian has now made three WTA finals - winning her first at home in Bogota while losing in Tenerife and Monterrey.
Osorio’s run to the final has seen her reach a new career-high ranking of 35.
Elsewhere, Zhang won her third career WTA title after completing a come from behind victory against Ukrainian wildcard Diana Yastremska in Lyon, France.
The No. 8 seed capped off her brilliant week at the Open 6e Sens Metropole by defeating Yastremska 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 46 minutes on centre court.
"An incredible week, very high-quality match in the final," Zhang said after the match.
"I saw [Yastremska] grow up over the last three or four years, she’s already won many tournaments.
She plays so well, very powerful, so I was really focused on myself today. I’m really proud of winning."
It nearly wasn’t to be for Zhang, who twice fought back from a break down in the deciding set to roar past the Ukrainian in the latter stages. It’s Zhang's first title win in over four years and her first outside of her home country of China, where she has claimed two titles in Guangzhou.
It was a remarkable run by Yastremska, who as a Ukrainian, is going through unimaginable circumstances at the moment. The 21-year-old was forced to take shelter with her family in an underground garage a week ago when Russia began to invade Ukraine.
Luckily, she was able to make it out of the country with her younger sister and over to Lyon, where she received a wildcard in the singles draw while her sister Ivanna was granted one into the doubles draw.
It was Yastremska’s first appearance in a WTA final in two years.