In an exhibition tournament held in the Italian city of Milan, Francesca Schiavone, the Italian tennis ace defeated both the Williams sisters to win the tournament in front of a huge home crowd, thereby ending her long wait for a title. Although the Williams sisters rallied back to win the doubles title in the tournament, the Italians can take heart from the fact that their own world number 11 managed to overcome the odds to defeat the might Venus and Serena Williams.
In the first match of the tournament, Schiavone defeated Venus, the elder of the two sisters in straight sets with a margin of 7-5, 7-3. She then went on to face sister Serena who gave her much more of a fight after losing the first set, but the 31 year old Italian managed to rally back and win the game in three sets with a margin of 7-3, 8-10, 8-6. The 2010 French Open champion showed glimpses of the touches and drop shots that had made her the world number 4 at the beginning of 2011, a position she failed to hold on to due to injury setbacks and a string of poor results to lowly ranked players.
But the way Francesca Schiavone rallied back against a particularly stubborn Serena Williams, it will give her a lot of confidence ahead of the start of the 2012 calendar season in Australia, where she reached the quarter finals stage in 2011, her best result in the tournament.
She will again be the only hope for a Grand Slam title for Italy in 2012 with the country struggling to produce top class tennis players in both the men’s and the women’s circuit but it all depends on whether Francesca Schiavone manages to keep herself fit for the duration of the year.