By Romana Cvitkovic
Italian tennis player Francesca Schiavone has a lot to celebrate after winning the Internationaux de Strasbourg over French wildcard Alize Cornet, 6-4, 6-4. It had been two years since Schiavone’s last title at the 2010 French Open and her first final since last year’s French Open.
Going in to today’s final, the expected winner was Schiavone as she had won the last six meetings against Cornet, but the French player’s recent resurgence in Stuttgart and making the finals here in Strasbourg proved the final would be a battle. Both players earned the much-needed boost in their careers this week.
“In this tournament, in the most important moments, I was there. It has been a long time since I’ve felt that,” Schiavone said after the final. “It’s a great feeling and I want to keep going this way. I’m happy again. I’m feeling the sensation of fighting and feeling the pain, and really enjoying my game again.”
Although Cornet’s sole title came in Budapest in 2008, she expressed a similar feeling about her recent good run. “Right now I’m disappointed, but Francesca was playing well the whole week, not even losing a set. And my tennis is improving and coming back again. It was only positives for me this week, and now I hope I can recover and have a good tournament at Roland Garros.”
Schiavone will be seeded 14 at the French Open, which starts in Paris on Sunday, and meets Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm in the first round. Cornet will play number 31 seed Jie Zheng of China.
Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm was in Strasbourg, France all week covering the tournament live. Check out his gallery from the singles final and post-match trophy ceremony below.
By Romana Cvitkovic
Tennis Grandstand photographer Rick Gleijm is in Strasbourg, France covering the WTA Internationaux de Strasbourg tournament live all week. Check back each day to catch all new action direct from the courts! Today’s set highlights main draw players Sabine Lisicki, Maria Kirilenko, Pauline Parmentier and Shahar Peer as they hit the practice courts over the weekend.
Set in picturesque Strasbourg, the tennis club itself is set across the street from European Parliament and is the last stop on the red clay prior to next week’s Roland Garros. The players are gearing up for the start of main draw matches on Monday, with wildcard and #1 seed Sabine Lisicki taking on French player Pauline Parmentier on center court. Over the weekend, players were seen training hard on the courts among adoring fans and the venue is sure to only get more crowded. Only time will tell to see which lady will hold up the trophy this year, after defending champion Andrea Petkovic was unable to play due to injury.
With the temperature expected to be near 80* degrees all week, it’s sure to be a great tournament for fans and players!
ORDER OF PLAY – MONDAY, MAY 21, 2012
CENTRAL start 11:00 am
M Martinez Sanchez (ESP) vs M Lucic (CRO) – Qualifying – Final Round
Not Before 12:30 PM
E Baltacha (GBR) vs S Foretz Gacon (FRA)
 [WC] S Lisicki (GER) vs P Parmentier (FRA)
 A Medina Garrigues (ESP) vs A Tatishvili (GEO)
COURT 1 start 11:00 am
M Minella (LUX) vs L Davis (USA) – Qualifying – Final Round
S Hsieh (TPE) vs I Begu (ROU)
 T Paszek (AUT) vs A Brianti (ITA)
 M Erakovic (NZL) vs A Morita (JPN)
COURT 2 start 11:00 am
A Panova (RUS) vs S Dubois (CAN) – Qualifying – Final Round
Not Before 12:30 PM
J Hampton (USA) or L Jurikova (SVK) vs A Sevastova (LAT) – Qualifying – Final Round
S Aoyama (JPN) / H Chan (TPE) vs  O Govortsova (BLR) / K Jans-Ignacik (POL)
A Naydenova (BUL) / T Pereira (BRA) vs S Stephens (USA) / J Woehr (GER)
K Chang (TPE) / C Chuang (TPE) vs A Vrljic (CRO) / K Woerle (GER)
Ana Ivanovic down & out for the time being
And just when you think she is finally coming back and show them girls how tennis should be played on clay, Ana Ivanovic pulls out of the Internationaux de Strasbourg. But with good reason and she is really down because she had to pull out.
It’s always extra disappointing to have to withdraw while on-site at a tournament, because you’ve felt the excitement and met the staff, and you’re looking forward to being part of it all. I was impressed by the Internationaux de Tennis de Strasbourg while I was here, I felt very welcome, and it’s such a shame that I am unable to compete. Hopefully I’ll be back sometime in the future.
It’s a big let down for the fans who hoped to see the Serbian beauty in action. The injury raises the question if she can play Roland Garros next week. Ana herself thinks she can make it but a lack of practice could prove to be her undoing for a long run at the French Open.
“I’ve had this pain for a while now, despite physical therapy,” the 21st-ranked Ana Ivanovic said of her wrist injury on her web site. “My doctor has told me to rest it completely for a few days, and I’m having treatments twice a day. Considering that it is not my racket hand, I can still practice, but backhands are out of the question for the next few days. I expect to be fit for Roland Garros.”
Maria Sharapova back to winning ways
While Ana’s down and out for the time being another former great seems to be on her way back. Maria Sharapova won last week’s Internazionali BNL d’Italia versus Sam Stosur. By the way, did you know that if Maria wins the French Open (ever) then she will have her career Grand Slam. That’s pretty neat and with last week’s win, I would definitely say that she is a contender.
What a great week!! I want to share this win at Internazionali BNL d’Italia with all my die hard fans (you know who you are) who never stopped believing that I would win BIG tournaments again. It has been a very long road back and we still have more road to travel!!!
I am actually flattered by the fact that the win is also shared with me because…I know who I am!
But Sharapova is already planning ahead.
Madrid, Rome and now Paris!! Another amazing city. I have had a very relaxing day and half with a light hit this afternoon. My team has been working with the LTA who stage the AEGON Classic in Birmingham where I won back to back titles in 2004 and 2005 (that seems like another lifetime ago) on a really cool contest to meet me in person in Birmingham, another city which I love! Click here to win: http://bit.ly/l0t6fL
Caroline Wozniacki talks about her life
In the meantime another top player made it to the Top 50 of most marketable people. Now that may seem like more like a Sharapova job but somehow Wozniacki is. I have to admit that she does great wonders for the sports and has a very likeable face.
Caroline has been named in the 50 most marketable athletes on the planet! At No.9. she is the highest ranked female athlete and highest ranked tennis player, read the full story and see the Top 50 list here: http://bit.ly/m2AsYf
And just to prove how marketable Wozniacki is, she posted a nice status update on her Facebook page.
I thought you guys would be interested in my new Compeed documentary. It’ll give you a bit of an insight into my life and a sneak peek behind the scenes of my latest Compeed shoot:
Enjoy the photo as well:
Ralf Reinecke, as promised, is in Strasbourg for TennisGrandstand and he sends us a few good pics. Enjoy the gallery!
And before I close this post: Special thanks to Lolita Vermeulen (I wonder if she is dutch) and Christina who both guessed it right: The very beautiful lady on the photo is indeed Sara Carbonera. Thanks for playing you two!