It may not have ended the way she wanted, but Venus Williams won her biggest title in more than five years at the Premier 5-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open on Saturday afternoon.
The early goings were close - the unseeded Williams and Garbiñe Muguruza, the No.5 seed, traded breaks twice in the first seven games, with Williams emerging out of that up 4-3 in the first set.
But from there an injured Muguruza's level dropped off and Williams' level got better and better, and after losing five straight games and the scoreline at 6-3, 3-0, Muguruza was forced to retire.
At the end of the day, though, Williams collected the 47th WTA title of her illustrious career, and more importantly her biggest in more than five years - her last title at the Premier 5 level or higher came at another Premier 5-level event, the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, in February 2010.
She very nearly didn't even make the final, though. Williams had to rally from 5-3 down in the third set to edge inspired British qualifier Johanna Konta in the quarterfinals, 6-4, 3-6, 7-5, and she was even down match point during a 5-7, 6-2, 7-6(4) semifinal nail-biter over No.15 seed Roberta Vinci.
But there's a reason Williams is a former World No.1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion - that fighting spirit came out every time she was down, and now the American lifts her latest WTA trophy.
The two players took the podium to address the crowd during the post-final trophy ceremony.
"Well, this is a sad day today," said Muguruza, who went first. "I'm very sorry I had to retire today, but I had a really amazing week here in Wuhan. I felt so much support from the crowd - it was great.
"Also, I really want to congratulate Venus. She's always such a tough player and she had an amazing week, as well. For sure we'll play again soon, and it's going to be a tough match, of course."
"Congratulations Garbiñe for making the final," Williams said. "I know you had a tough match yesterday - it's not easy when you don't play your best, and I probably didn't have a chance if you felt well!"
Neither player will leave empty-handed though. They're both projected to make major moves up the WTA Rankings - Williams from No.24 to No.14 and Muguruza from No.8 to No.5, her Top 5 debut. They're both also projected to rise into the Top 8 spots on the Road To Singapore leaderboard, too, Muguruza from No.11 and Williams all the way from No.23 - with only eight players making it into the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global field, those are both huge moves.