Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone turned back the clock at the Claro Open Colsanitas, winning her 600th career match and eighth title in Bogota.
WTA Staff

BOGOTA, Colombia - Playing her final season on tour, 36-year-old Francesca Schiavone not only earned her eighth career WTA title at the Claro Open Colsanitas, but also gained valuable ranking points towards guaranteeing what would be her final French Open main draw appearance, outlasting No.4 seed Lara Arruabarrena, 6-4, 7-5.

"I'm very happy and emotional," she said in her on-court interview. "Today was a disaster match, but winning was the most important thing. Lara is improving a lot; I think she pulled a muscle and couldn't run as well that she could, but I thank God that I could win the last three games."

A former World No.4, Schiavone announced 2017 would be her last season, and came into the clay court season without winning a main draw match all year.

Just as she first did in 2010, when she won her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, the wildcard found some extra magic on the red clay of Colombia, shocking top seed and 2016 French Open semifinalist Kiki Bertens and No.3 seed Johanna Larsson en route to her first WTA final since the Rio Open last February.

"In this moment I have memories of my championship in Roland Garros," she added in her post-match press conference. "I have always had very good performances on clay. It was too long since I won a title and I am very pleased to win again. It was a very good tournament for me here in Bogota. I felt very excited to be playing my game."

It was nonetheless a tough ask against Arruabarrena, a 2012 champion in Bogota who had enjoyed a career-best run at the Miami Open, where she reached the fourth round.

"There wasn't a big difference between us. It was very close."

The Italian kept up her impressive form to start Saturday's final, winning her ninth straight set as Arruabarrena got the upper hand in the second, breaking serve and holding four set points to force a decider.

"Play in this altitude is difficult, in the second set, it was hard because she started to play well. But she had a little injury in her leg so I started to move her around the court, and perform my backhand to ensure the victory."

Schiavone showed off her signature fighting spirit to save all four and roll through the final four games of the match to earn her 600th career win and bring her ranking back to within striking distance of the Top 100.

"I'm not thinking about retirement," she said after striking 28 winners to just 21 unforced errors. "I'm enjoying tennis."

A beloved figure on the tour for nearly two decades, current and former players alike sent out their congratulations to the veteran:

In the doubles final, Beatriz Haddad Maia and Nadia Podoroska ensured a wildcard sweep in Bogota as the pair edged past Veronica Cepede Royg and Magda Linette, 6-3, 7-6(4).

"It is very important to us play with the energy of the public here in Bogota," Haddad Maia said after the match. "It was a hard match, especially in the second set, but fortunately we won playing good tennis."