For last two years, a WTA player has made a big announcement by winning the Paris indoor tournament. In 2011, it was Petra Kvitova, and last year, it was Angelique Kerber. Today, Mona Barthel advanced a step in her career by winning the final in Paris. She beat top seed Sara Errani, who made Barthel work for her trophy. Barthel led 7-5, 5-2, but was unable to close when Errani put pressure on her by consistently hitting to the German's forehand. Barthel, like many big hitters, has a forehand that tends to break down when the pressure is on. Barthel won, 7-5, 7-6, she hit 53 winners, and she rushed the net repeatedly.
With the win in Paris, the young German star moved from the number 45 ranking to the number 28 spot.
This tournament was a showcase for up and coming talent. Joining Barthel in the semifinals were Kristina Mladenovic and Kiki Bertens (who had to retire because of a back injury). Barthel played in some high quality matches, and took it all in stride. And--in an era when we don't always get to see sporting handshake--it should be noted that she and Mladenovic showed us the highest level of sporting respect at the end of their entertaining semifinal match.
Errani may have lost the singles final, but she and partner Roberta Vinci (who served as her coach in Paris), the top seeds, won the doubles title by defeating 2nd seeds Andrea Hlavackova and Liezel Huber 6-1, 6-1.