Elina Svitolina captured her second Internationaux de Strasbourg title, and first WTA title as a mom, on Saturday with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Anna Blinkova.
The 1-hour, 33-minute triumph earned Svitolina the 17th title of her career and her first since she won the WTA 250 in Chicago in the summer of 2021. Citing injuries and the mental toll of the Russian invasion of her home country, Svitolina took a sabbatical after the Miami Open last March, announced her pregnancy shortly after, gave birth to her daughter Skaï with husband Gael Monfils last October, and returned to tennis this April at the Credit One Charleston Open.
Currently ranked No. 508 in the WTA rankings, former No. 3 Svitolina is the fourth-lowest ranked title-winner in tour history, including a pair of unranked winners (Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Bol 1997; Kim Clijsters, 2009 US Open). Angelique Widjaja triumphed at home in Bali in 2001 when she was ranked No. 579.
Ukraine's most decorated player, Svitolina also improved to 10-0 in WTA 250 finals, and 6-0 in clay-court finals in her career.
How the match was won: Svitolina won the first three games of each set and never trailed in the match. In all, she broke Blinkova seven times.
The most notable game of the entirety of Saturday's final came early in the second set, where Svitolina saved three break points in a staggering 11-deuce game to hold and stretch her lead to 6-3, 2-0.
Wild-card winners: Svitolina is the fifth wild card in tournament history to win the title. She joins Angelique Kerber (2022), Samantha Stosur (2017 and 2015), Maria Sharapova (2010) and Stefanie Graf (1997).
She's also the fifth two-time champion in event history, joining Lindsay Davenport, Silvia Farina Elia, Anabel Media Garrigues and Samantha Stosur.
For Ukraine: Svitolina also announced that she will be donating her winnings from this tournament in support of humanitarian aid for Ukrainian children.
"I would like to share this energy with Ukraine, with my homeland," she said. "All my prize money from this tournament is going to go to the kids of Ukraine, [which is] much needed in this tough moment.
"I would like to thank France for doing an unbelievable job, welcoming Ukrainians, doing everything possible for them to feel like it's their second home. Thank you so much for everything that you do for us, and together, we're going to see the light and end this war."
Roland Garros outlook: Svitolina has an intriguing first-round match at Roland Garros up next against No.26 seed and 2022 semifinalist Martina Trevisan of Italy, who was forced to retire from her quarterfinal match in Rabat this week due to injury.
Meanwhile, Blinkova will face Belgium's Ysaline Bonaventure in the first round, and the winner of that match could be a Round 2 foe for No.5 seed for French favorite Caroline Garcia.