The women's clay court tennis tournament in Palermo seems to have always drawn women tennis players from Romania to take part in it. We should not forget the Romanian women tennis players have many supporters in Sicily, especially among the fellow Romanians who settled there. Also, the Romanians feel quite at home playing on a clay court. We recall that 30 years ago, in 1994 and 1995, another Romanian, Irina Sparlea won the trophy. In 2021, Elena‑Gabriela Ruse was a whisker away from winning, yet she was defeated by US challenger Danielle Collins. In 2022, Irina Begu emerged as the winner of the Palermo tournament as in the final the Romanian overpowered her opponent, Italy's Lucia Bronzetti. Reason enough for Radio Romania International to designate Irina the Athlete of the week.
Irina Begu was 6th-seeded in Palermo. Her successful run includes a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win against Spain's Marina Bassols Ribera, another three-set win against French opponent Océane Dodin, 1-6, 6-2, 6-4, in the second round, and a more laid-back, two-set win against Diane Parry, also from France 6-1, 6-3. Irina's trail in Palermo also includes a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against the 4th-seeded player, Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the semi-finals; it was Irina Begu's most difficult confrontation in the tournament, yet the Romanian braced up and won, after more than three hours of play. Irina Begu had no problem securing a two-set win against Italian challenger Lucia Bronzetti, 6-2, 6-2. For her exceptional feat in Sicily, Begu received 26, 770 Euro and 280 WTA points
Irina Camelia Begu was born in Bucharest. She turns 32 in August this year. Her recent win in Palermo only adds to other noteworthy feats on her record. Irina also has four women's singles WTA tournaments she won in Tashkent, in 2012, in Seoul, in 2015, in Florianopolis, the USA, in 2016 and in Bucharest, in 2017. In the women's doubles, Irina Begu won nine tournaments, in Hobart in 2012, jointly with Monica Niculescu, in 's-Hertogenbosch, in 2013, pairing up with Anabel Medina Garrigues and in Rio, in 2014, jointly with Maria Irigoyen. Also in 2014, in Seoul, Irina emerged as winner together with Lara Arruabarrena, then in 2017, jointly with Raluca Olaru, she won the tournament in Bucharest. Also in 2017, Irina Begu and sara Errani won the tournament in Tianjin. In 2018, Irina Camelia Begu won two other WTA tournaments, in Shenzhen, pairing up with Simona Halep, and again in Bucharest, this time alongside Andreea Mitu, also in 2018. Pairing up with Monica Niculescu, Irina Begu won the Thailand Open, in 2019.(EN)