Mayar Sherif 'thrilled' after making history as Egypt's first WTA Tour champion

The 26-year-old stunned world No 7 Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 to win the Parma Open final

Mayar Sherif celebrates her victory in the Parma Open final to clinch her first WTA Tour title. Photo. WTA
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Mayar Sherif said she was happy to make Egypt proud after becoming the first player from the country to win a WTA Tour title.

Sherif, 26, made history on Saturday when she defeated world No 7 Maria Sakkari 7-5, 6-3 in the Parma Open final, also achieving her first ever top 10 win.

"It means a lot for my country," Sherif said. "It means a lot for the people back home, my family, all the hard work, all the mental struggles in the last weeks. I'm just thrilled and happy. This was never expected."

Sherif, ranked No 74 in the world, carved out her place in history on a gruelling day which saw her playing a semi-final and final back-to-back after Friday's schedule had been washed out by rain.

She finished the final with 10 winners to 11 unforced errors and generated 13 break points, converting six. Sakkari hit 22 winners to 22 unforced errors. Sherif sealed the title in style, lobbing an inrushing Sakkari on match point.

"I'm exhausted," Sherif said after coming back from being an early break down in both sets of the claycourt final.

"Today was a very tough day for me, many hours on court. I'm very happy that I pulled it off. I had to dig very deep."

"The first match was emotionally and mentally tough. There were so many key moments in the match, a lot of pressure. But after I won that match it gave me a lot of confidence so I used that for the match right after."

Earlier on Saturday, Sherif, had required almost three hours to defeat sixth-seeded Ana Bogdan 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the semi-finals.

Sakkari eased through to her first final since Indian Wells with a 7-5, 6-2 win over Danka Konvinic of Montenegro.

Sherif's historic breakthrough follows in the footsteps of another North African tennis star, Ons Jabeur, who this season became the first Arab or African woman to reach a Grand Slam final, which she achieved twice at Wimbledon and the US Open in successive majors.

Tunisian world No 2 Jabeur is also the highest-ranked Arab player, male or female, in tennis history.

Sherif is expected to rise to No 48 in the WTA rankings on Monday as she closes in on surpassing her career-high position of No 44, achieved in July.

Updated: October 02, 2022, 8:46 AM
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