Gstaad, Switzerland: Alize Cornet won her first title in two and a half years and after a probe into missed doping controls on Sunday as she beat Mandy Minella 6-4, 7-6 (6) in the Gstaad final.
The French top seed, who said she took encouragement from her country's World Cup triumph a week ago, needed two hours to get past a determined opponent who is only just returning to the Tour after becoming a mother.
Cornet owns six titles. Her last one came in January, 2016 at Hobart.
Minella, from Luxembourg is ranked 266 and was playing her first WTA final at age 32. She gave birth to a daughter last autumn and this was her fourth WTA-level event since returning in February.
Cornet had suffered through a tough six months as she was investigated for missing three surprise anti-doping tests. As the probe went on, she kept playing and was finally cleared this year.
"It's an amazing feeling," Cornet said. "The last six months have been tense, but I fought through them like I did in this match today.
"After so long, it means the world to have this title.
On Sunday, each set took an hour, with plot twists abounding.
"It was a huge battle," the 48th-ranked Cornet said. "It was a very close, match, I had the feeling it could go either way,
"I managed to be more solid in the crucial moments, I really wanted to win this trophy."
Minella was disappointed but hopeful after her Gstaad breakthrough..
"Of course I wanted to win, but in a few hours I will feel good about this," the Luxembourg player said.
"Alize was better when it counted today.
"But this has been a great week for me, it really shows me that I'm coming back."
Cornet, 28, kept the pressure on in the opening set, forcing Minella to save ten break points in two service games.
The Frenchwoman finally secured the opener after 57 minutes, breaking her opponent for a third time with a winning drop shot on set point.
As she had done in the first set, Minella got an early break in the second, but lost it.
Minella saved two match points in the 12th game as she took the set into a tiebreaker, where Cornet rallied from 3-1 down.
The French top seed making her Gstaad debut saved a pair of Minella set points and finished off the match from her opponent's forehand to the net.
Cornet could barely lift the stylised trophy representing the Alps during the ceremony: "I was so tired after the match and it must have weight 15 kilograms, she joked.
"I really enjoy my time on court now, I realise that I could be home (had she been banned) and not able to play.
Cornet reached 11th in the world in 2009.
"Lifting this trophy with family and friends is wonderful. I don't care so much about the ranking - but if I keep up this level and attitude, I think I can return to the Top 20."
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Updated Date: Jul 23, 2018 18:11:07 IST