Rio de Janeiro - Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone,
who turns 36 in June, won her first title since 2013, defeating Shelby Rogers
of the United States 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the final of the Rio Open.
The Italian former world No 4, now ranked at 132, came back from a
set and a break down to defeat her 23-year-old opponent and claim her seventh
Schiavone is the third Italian winner on the WTA Tour this year after
Roberta Vinci in St Petersburg last week and Sara Errani in Dubai on Saturday.
Sunday's victory was a welcome relief for Schiavone, who missed out on a
62nd consecutive Grand Slam main draw appearance when she fell in the second
round of qualifying at the Australian Open in January.
It also guarantees a return to the world top 100 next week for the veteran
who is in her third decade on tour.
"I'm really happy to be here - I wrote this speech this morning,
regardless of the result, because I wanted to share my joy with you,"
Schiavone said as she addressed the crowd in Portuguese.