Maria Sharapova conquers Li Na to lift the Internazionali BNL D'Italia title: Tennis Special

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Maria Sharapova conquers Li Na to lift the Internazionali BNL D'Italia title: Tennis Special

Former world number one, Maria Sharapova bounces back to outfox the eighth seed, Li Na, in a three-set rain delayed thriller at the Internazionali BNL D’Italia 2012 on Sunday. She formulated a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) victory against the Chinese number one to conquer her 26th career title at this WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Premier Mandatory event taking place in Rome, Italy.
The Russian stayed on track to become the world number one again after triumphing over Li in almost three hours. Battling each other for the 11th time, Sharapova saved a match point to improve to a 7-4 lifetime in the head-to-head series against the Chinese at this red clay court event.
"I don't mind rain - actually I like it," Sharapova was quoted in a courtside interview after the match. "One time it helped me a lot, when I won Wimbledon. In the semifinals it started raining when I was down and out against Lindsay Davenport. I was pretty much booking my ticket back home. But when we came back I managed to turn it around. Today the court was wet and slippery when we came back, but the umpire told us it was our decision, and both of us wanted to keep going."
The world number seven, Li made a sloppy start at Foro Italico and suffered the first blow in the third game to trail at 1-2. However, she quickly recovered and then broke the Russian’s serve again to bag the opener.
The top Russian carried her drastic ways in the following set and lost the opening four games in a row to fall at 0-4. However, she made a spectacular reply and went on a six-game killing spree, ultimately sealing the equaliser by winning six games to four.
Second ranked Sharapova carried her spark in the final set. She broke the Chinese’s serve twice to leap to a 4-1 lead. Apart from losing the proceeding five games in a row, the Russian stayed focused and carved out the victory with a 7-6(5) score line after dominating in the tie-breaker.
All in all, the Nyagan native spilled 10 double faults and committed several unforced errors. She also produced a lower first serve share of 59 per cent as compared to her rival’s 67 per cent but impressively marked 42 out of 63 points on it. Sharapova also bagged slightly lower 109 points as compared to the 30-year-old 110 points but cashed in six out of 13 break chances to earn the fame.
The 25-year-old defended her title successfully for the first time at a clay court event. However, she defend her titles at Tokyo, Birmingham and San Diego before clinching the title here.
The high flying Russian is enjoying a great season on clay this season. Her first title this season came at the Porsche Open in Stuttgart last month where she crippled the world number one, Victoria Azarenka, with a breadstick in the final showdown.   
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the writer's own and in no way represent's official editorial policy.



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