Maria does the Lourdes work in Vero Beach

ARGENTINIAN Maria Lourdes Carle continued her red-hot form of late on the ITF World Tennis Tour to claim a straight sets victory in the W75 event in Vero Beach, Florida. The 6-4 7-6 triumph over Romanian Gabriela Lee capped off not just a great tournament, but a purple patch of form since late November.

Carle’s win in two hours and 19 minutes moved her win-loss record to 15-3 since the Buenos Aires 125 event on November 27, finishing runner-up at that event, and then reaching semi-finals at the Montevideo 125 and Vacaria 60 tournaments in December. In her first event of 2024, the second seed managed to survive some incredibly close matches on her way to the crown.

Of her five matches, four were three-setters with only the actual final ending as a straight sets victory. It was far from clinical over Lee, with the Romanian qualifier a consistent server with a 73 per cent clip. Carle also ran at 73 per cent, though served a forgettable 10 double faults in the win showing there is still plenty of room for improvement.

Lee initially broke midway through the second set to lead 4-1 one at one stage, before Carle hit back in the seventh game to get it back on serve at 4-3. From there, the players failed to hold serve with another four breaks coming, eventually resulting in a tiebreaker. After two hours and 19 minutes – and a 7-4 second set tiebreaker – the Argentinian took home the chocolates.

The title marked her fourth in the past 12 months following on from three in 2023, with 12 all up on the ITF circuit. The W75 event was her biggest title of her career to-date, with two W60 titles in her CV. After the win, Carle opted to stay in the United States, heading from Florida to Georgia where she will take part in another W75 event, this time in Rome.

One of only four non-North American automatic entries in the draw, Carle will be top seed at the event. Her biggest threats include a trio of United States representatives including Sachia Vickery, Ann Li and Robin Montgomery. Her victory allowed Carle to move up to 110th in the world, a new career-high.

Spaniard Jessica Bouzas Maneiro took out the Porto W75 title. Image credit: Zuma/Panoramic

Bouzas Maneiro produces powerful Porto performance

In the only other W75 event taking place, Spanish 21-year-old Jessica Bouzas Maneiro won the title in Porto, storming to victory against Poland’s Maja Chwalinska after dropping the first set. Bouzas Maneiro took home a bagel second set to post the 3-6 6-0 6-4 victory in two hours and six minutes.

Breaking seven times from nine chances, Bouzas Maneiro was slightly more consistent on serve, though was still broken five times in the match. She won 58 and 53 per cent of her first and second serve points, compared to Chwalinska’s 48 and 25 per cent.


Over in India, Japan’s Moyuka Uchijima crushed Australian Tina Nadine Smith in a one-sided final. Uchijima initially trailed 3-4 in the first set, but stormed to victory winning the last nine games of the match to post a 6-4 6-0 victory in an hour and 14 minutes. Uchijima won 81 and 50 per cent of her first and second serve points in the victory, and moved back inside the Top 150, edging closer to her career-high 104th.

At the lower ranked W35 in Buenos Aries, teenage Argentinian Solana Sierra stormed to the ITF title without dropping a set. She defeated French 12th seed Alice Rame, 6-1 6-4 in a 90-minute decider. The 2021 US Open Junior Girls Singles semi-finalist broke seven times, and though she struggled off her first serve (47 per cent), excelled off her second (60 per cent) as Rame only managed 45 and 32 per cent off the respective serves.

In a battle of two former junior stars, 23-year-old Canadian qualifier Carson Branstine dominated Andorran top ranked player Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva 6-2 6-2 in an 80-minute rout in Monastir, Turkey. Branstine, who has not quite lived up the heights that her two-time Grand Slam doubles winning partner Bianca Andreescu has, proved too strong for the 2020 Australian Open Junior Girls’ singles winner and former Top 130 player. Branstine’s first serve won her 83 per cent of the points, which was the difference in the end as Jimenez Kasintseva only won 50 per cent of points off hers.

Across in France, fourth seeded Austrian Tamira Paszek was too strong for Belgian Clara Vlasselaer, grinding out a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 victory in Le Goiser. Paszek – who has won three titles on the WTA Tour – won 68 per cent of her first serve points and broke four times to two in order to take home the straight sets victory in an hour and 56 minutes.

In the only W15 event of the week, the top two players in the tournament went head-to-head for the final with Spanish second seed Andrea Lazaro Garcia defeating Andreea Prisacariu in three sets. After only winning four games in the first set, Lazaro Garcia only conceded four games in the final two sets to get up, 4-6 6-3 6-1.


W75 Vero Beach: [2] Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG) defeated [Q] Gabriela Lee (ROU) 6-4 7-6
W75 Porto: Jessica Bouzas Maneiro (ESP) defeated Maja Chwalinska (POL) 3-6 6-0 6-4
W50 Pune: [3] Moyuka Uchijima (JPN) defeated [Q] Tina Nadine Smith (AUS) 6-4 6-0
W35 Buenos Aires: [WC] Solana Sierra (ARG) defeated [12] Alice Rame (FRA) 6-1 6-4
W35 Monastir: [Q] Carson Branstine (CAN) defeated Victoria Jimenez Kasintseva (AND) 6-2 6-2
W35 Le Gosier: [4] Tamira Paszek (AUT) defeated Clara Vlasselaer (BEL) 6-4 7-5
W15 Antalya: [2] Andrea Lazaro Garcia (ESP) defeated [1] Andreea Prisacariu (ROU) 4-6 6-3 6-1

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