Sharapova topples Li for second straight Stuttgart crown|
Stuttgart, Germany (Sports Network) - Maria Sharapova captured her second
straight title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with a straight-set win over
Li Na in Sunday's final.
The top-seeded Sharapova notched a 6-4, 6-3 triumph for her second title of
2013 and her 29th career tournament victory. She won earlier this year at
Indian Wells and became the first woman with consecutive Stuttgart titles
since Lindsay Davenport in 2004-05.
Sharapova was appearing in her third straight WTA final, having lost to Serena
Williams in Miami after the Indian Wells crown. She also avenged a loss to Li
in the semifinals of the Australian Open and improved to 9-5 all-time against
the Chinese star.
"We have faced each other so many times so there are really no secrets between
us in our games," said Sharapova. "It's not really about one thing we do well
or don't do well, you have to do a lot of things well on a consistent basis.
It's really about who goes out and executes best on the day."
Li fell to 7-10 all-time in finals, including 1-2 this year. She won the
season-opening Shenzhen Open for her seventh career title, then lost to
Victoria Azarenka in the Aussie Open championship match.
Sharapova went the distance in each of her first three matches this week, but
broke serve in the first game on Sunday and added a second break for a 4-1
lead. Li, who had not dropped a set entering the final, managed to break right
back, but couldn't do so again.
The Russian star broke Li again for a 4-3 lead in the second set and the
second seed had no answer.
"Today she was the better one," said Li. "Of course it's sad when you lose in
the final, but looking back at the whole week, it was the first clay court
tournament of the year for me, so I'm happy to have reached the final here."
Sharapova has won 16 straight matches on clay dating back to last year's title
in Rome, where she also beat Li in the final. She went on to capture the
French Open crown to complete the career Grand Slam.
Sunday's victory improved Sharapova's finals record to 29-20 and earned her a
$130,000 first prize.
04/28 14:36:17 ET