strasbourg international tennis

Francesca Schiavone victorious against a resurgent Alize Cornet in Strasbourg

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.

[nggallery id=55]