French fulfilment for Franc
Italian hails maiden success as Stosur is gracious in defeat
An emotional Francesca Schiavone was overjoyed to at last call herself a champion after winning the French Open.
The 29-year-old became the first Italian woman to land a grand slam singles title on Saturday when she beat Australia's Sam Stosur in the Roland Garros final.
Schiavone, who before this week had never been beyond the last eight of a major, tamed the seventh seed's greater power and treated the Court Phillipe Chatrier crowd to a one hour and 38 minute-tactical masterclass which saw her record a 6-4 7-6 triumph.
Schiavone, who is the second oldest first-time winner of a grand slam in the Open era, told the crowd she had not prepared a victory speech as she collected the trophy from former French Open champion Mary Pierce.
"I didn't prepare anything to say, because I thought that if I did then this would never happen," said an emotional Schiavone, who follows compatriot Adriano Panatta, the men's champion in 1976, into the Italian record books.
"I felt amazing today. I feel like a champion. But I want to say to Samantha that she is a great person. You deserve to be here next time. You are young, you can still do it."
Stosur paid tribute to world number 17 Schiavone, only the fourth player from outside the top 10 to win the Roland Garros title.
The pre-match favourite, struggling to hold back the tears, was gracious in defeat as she missed out on becoming the first Australian woman to win a grand slam singles title since Evonne Goolagong at Wimbledon in 1980.
"First of all, Franc, well done," the Australian seventh seed, said. "You played very well today, you had a great tournament and good luck for the rest of the year."
She also thanked her mum, dad and two brothers who had flown halfway around the world to watch the biggest day of her career.