Thursday, June 13, 2024

Renata Zarazúa becomes first Mexican woman to win a WTA tournament

A 26-year-old from Mexico City who has never won an event on the top women’s pro tennis tour was all smiles on Sunday after making history in the Montevideo Open in Uruguay.

In a grueling match that lasted nearly three hours, second-seeded Renata Zarazúa of Mexico beat top-seeded Diane Parry of France to become the first Mexican to ever win a Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) tournament.

A woman hits a tennis ball
Diane Parry of France was the top-seeded competitor for womens singles (Montevideo Open).

However, it didn’t count as an actual WTA Tour victory because it came in a second-tier WTA 125 event. Sometimes called the WTA Challenger tour, WTA 125 tournaments are the second-highest level of women’s competition behind the top-level WTA Tour.

Still, for Zarazúa, the 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 victory in the final was huge, as were her four victories to reach the final. Her world ranking improved 23 spots to 105 — an impressive climb for someone who came into 2023 ranked 368th and was unable to ascend any higher than 227th until August.

Her first career WTA 125 victory earned her US $15,000, boosting her 2023 prize money in singles to US $114,594 and her career earnings to US $646,943.

Zarazúa was born in Mexico City. Her great-uncle Vicente Zarazúa played in 16 Davis Cup events for Mexico and won a gold medal in exhibition doubles in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, and her older brother, Patricio, played Division II college tennis in Florida (and is now her coach).

A woman in wearing a puffy jacket holds a plaque with the words "MVD Open."
Zarazúa celebrates her win after the final match. (Montevideo Open)

Zarazúa made her pro debut as a 15-year-old in 2012, winning one match in an International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournament outside of San Antonio, Texas.

Over the last decade, she has played mainly second-tier WTA 125 and third-tier ITF events, along with 28 tournaments on the main WTA Tour, including a first-round loss this year in the Guadalajara Open in September.

Her Grand Slam experience is limited to a stunning first-round win and a second-round loss in the French Open in 2020, when she won three preliminary matches just to qualify — thereby becoming the first Mexican woman to make the main draw of a major in 20 years.

One of her career highlights occurred in 2020, when she received a wild card to play in the Mexican Open in Acapulco, then shocked top-seeded American Sloane Stephens in the first round and advanced to the semifinals.

She also qualified for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021, losing in the first round in both singles and doubles.

With reports from Milenio and El Universal

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