Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic avenged her first-round defeat to Simona Halep in Marbella with a 6-4 6-2 victory over the Romanian in the final of the Grand Prix de SAR La Princesse Lalla Meryem in Fes, Morocco.
The 27-year-old Benesova, seeded seventh at the African tournament, had lost an average of only five games per match until the semifinals, and reached the title match with a 6-3 4-6 7-5 win over Alize Cornet.
The 18-year-old qualifier Halep, who upset second seed Patty Schnyder in the quarterfinals, was playing only her third main draw on the Tour. She was a junior world No.1 and is now the youngest finalist on the Tour this season.
The world No.67 Benesova, last year ranked in the Top 30, is now 2-6 in Tour finals. Her first title came in Acapulco in 2004.
Explanation of the tournament’s long and a bit strange name: Princess Lalla Meryem is the first daughter and eldest child of the late King Hassan II of Morocco and sister of Mohammed VI, the current king of Morocco. And one more thing, the tournament, which is the only WTA event in Africa, has a ten-year tradition, but throughout that period it has been located in different Moroccan cities. (source: Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, photo: Ralf Reinecke)