Schiavone began the year at the 2011 Hopman Cup representing Italy.In singles, Schiavone defeated Great Britain's Laura Robson, but fell to American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.She also became the oldest woman to win a first Grand Slam title in the Open era, beating the previous record by Jana Novotná. 6 in the world rankings on 7 June 2010 and became the highest-ranked Italian woman ever after Flavia Pennetta reached world No. Schiavone's next event after the French Open was Eastbourne, where she lost in the first-round to Sorana Cîrstea 5–7, 3–6.Schiavone was the 5th seed at Wimbledon, due to the pre-tournament withdrawal of Dementieva; however, she lost to Vera Dushevina in the first round 7–6, 5–7, 1–6.The fourth-round encounter lasted nearly five hours (; 47 games in total), and Schiavone saved six match points before finally prevailing 6–4, 1–6, 16–14.With this win, Schiavone rose in the rankings to world No.
Chris Fowler and Brad Gilbert described her forehand as a "buggy whip." Schiavone has won six singles titles on the WTA tour and has also achieved eleven runner-up positions, eight of them since the autumn of 2005.Schiavone reached the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup, where she fell to top seed Caroline Wozniacki. She defeated Ayumi Morita, Maria Elena Camerin, 29th seed Alona Bondarenko, and 20th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2003 (where she had lost to Jennifer Capriati).In the quarter-finals, she fell to seven-time Grand Slam singles champion No. As the 5th seed, Schiavone reached the semi-finals of the Toray Pan Pacific Open, where she fell to 7th seed Elena Dementieva. To date, Schiavone is the last one-handed-backhand player to win a Grand Slam title on the women's tour.Schiavone played in the longest ever singles match at a Grand slam tournament, when she defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open women's singles draw, the match lasted 4 hours and 44 minutes and in the process secured her first and only quarterfinal at the Australian Open.
In the final, Schiavone faced Stosur in a rematch of their first-round meeting at the 2009 French Open which Stosur had won easily (6–4, 6–2).