The International-level title in Luxembourg may not be a milestone in Venus Williams' career who had won 43 titles before the tournament, including seven Grand Slams, but in the circumstances of her injuries the past two years, the Sjogren's syndrome diagnosis and the title drought dating back to February 2010, the former world No.1 can be delighted with a comeback to the winner's circle.
To win her 44th career title, Venus beat Belinda Bencic in the first round, ninth seed Mona Barthel in the second, in the quarterfinals took out top seed Roberta Vinci, the only seed left at the tournament at that stage, fought for more than two and a half hours against Andrea Petkovic in the semis and finally beat Monica Niculescu, whose only two WTA finals came in Luxembourg and last year she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka in the title match.
Venus beat Niculescu 6-2 6-3, but the scoreline suggests an easier match than it really was. Venus had to stay focused and return the persistent shots of Niculescu for one hour and 23 minutes. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)