| 15.6°C Dublin

Sharapova claims clay crown in Stuttgart

TENNIS: Russia's Maria Sharapova beat world number one Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-4 in the Stuttgart clay court final yesterday to claim her first WTA tour title of the year and end a two-match losing streak against the Belarussian.

Sharapova, 25, ranked second in the world, outplayed Azarenka, who had beaten her in the Australian Open final and the Indian Wells final earlier this year.

This was only a second defeat of the year for Azarenka, who was treated for a wrist injury at the start of the second set.

"In such a tough tournament with difficult opponents, it was a good week," Sharapova said after her first appearance at the indoor event was sealed with the title. "(Azarenka) was injured today, maybe she could not perform well but I am happy to be the champion here this year."

Sharapova, far more aggressive in this battle of baseliners, snatched an early break to love and fired two successive aces to take the lead.

The Russian broke her opponent again and fired her fifth ace on set point to rush through the first set in 29 minutes.

Azarenka, 22, who has already won four titles this year, briefly fought back despite the wrist injury but was broken again to trail 5-3.

Sharapova secured the prize money and a luxury sports car with her first match point.


Privacy