Sharapova lifts trophy in Italy
Maria Sharapova is known to show a bit of grunt on the tennis court, but her victory over Li Na to retain her Italian Open title must go down as one of her greatest comebacks.
After losing the first set 6-4, the Russian looked down and out when she trailed four games to love in the second.
But somehow she clawed her way back, never giving up on her big ground strokes to take it eventually 6-4 and level the match.
In the deciding set she bravely saved match point and forced a tie-break after hitting a thunderous winner. But just as Sharapova was getting on top, the clouds gathered and rain stopped play.
The Russian did not let the break upset her rhythm. On her return to the clay she picked up from where she left off, winning the tie break 7-5 for the match.
"I`ve been in a few different situations in my career where there are a few swings because of the weather conditions so you start the match and you feel you`re playing really well, then you stop and you go off the court and you come on and then things just change for some reason - your opponent starts playing better and has time to re-group," Sharapova said after the game.
"But this was just a situation where you just have a tie-breaker to play so it doesn`t really matter what your coach or any one tells you. It`s just about really focusing on each point and trying to win that tie-breaker."
The Russian thus grabbed the second title of the year and lifted the first one on clay. She now heads to next week`s French Open as one of the favorites.
All that rain meant the men`s final was postponed until Monday. Top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic lost to six-time winner Rafael Nadal, 7-5, 6-3. Victory for Nadal saw him oust Roger Federer as world number two.