Sara Errani beat WTA Rising Star Anna Schmiedlova to win her first WTA title in almost two years at the Rio Open. How close will she be to a Top 10 return now?
WTA Staff

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - Sara Errani put an end to the breakthrough week of Anna Schmiedlova on Sunday afternoon, battling past the WTA Rising Star in a tight two-setter to win the Rio Open.

Schmiedlova had never even been to the quarterfinals of a WTA event before this week, let alone a final, and she put up all kinds of resistance in a marathon 73-minute first set, holding set point on Errani's serve at 5-4 and, after missing out on that opportunity, pushing the set to a tie-break.

That's when the No.1-seeded Errani came alive, storming through that tie-break and then jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second set, eventually closing out the No.6-seeded Schmiedlova, 7-6(2), 6-1.

"The first set was tough. We played more than an hour," Errani said. "We were both fighting hard in that set - she was playing very well and not giving me anything, really. It was also the first time I played her so I needed some time to find my tactics. I was happy I managed to win that set, and in the second set things started going much more my way. I think I was just physically stronger in the end.

"Winning a title is always special. This tournament was great and I leave with only good memories."

"She was moving really well and she's a really great player," Schmiedlova said. "I played some very good tennis in the first set - the second set was worse, but I'm so happy I was in the final.

"This week gave me a lot of confidence. I hope it helps me in my next tournaments."

Errani came away with her eighth WTA title. Her first seven WTA titles came in 2008 (Palermo and Portoroz), 2012 (Acapulco, Barcelona, Budapest and Palermo) and most recently 2013 (Acapulco).

This was also the first time Errani has come back from match point down to win a WTA title - she saved three match points against Brazilian teenager Beatriz Haddad Maia in Friday's quarterfinals.

Errani, a former World No.5, will go from No.16 to No.12 on this week's WTA Rankings.

"I'm aware that I'm close to getting back to the Top 10, but right now my goal is to keep trying to play my best and keep trying to improve," Errani said. "If that happens I think the ranking will come."