Sharapova strolls to Stuttgart title

Second-ranked Russian earns first title of the year with 6-1, 6-4 victory over Victoria Azarenka in Stuttgart.

    Maria Sharapova notched up the 25th title of her career and first of the season in Stuttgart [GETTY]

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

    Sharapova, ranked second in the world, outplayed Azarenka, who had beaten her in the Australian Open final and the Indian Wells final during her 26-match unbeaten run 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.

    ‘Good week’

    "In such a tough tournament with difficult opponents, it was a good week," Sharapova said in a courtside interview 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."

    "I was going to use this event as a warm-up (to the French Open) so I did not come much earlier. Maybe I should continue doing it like that," said the 25-year-old.

    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, 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.

    "Obviously I am not happy, but congratulations to Maria," said the 22-year-old Azarenka, who has reached the final in every event she has entered this year.

    "Still it was a good week for me."

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    Double standards: 'Why aren't we all with Somalia?'

    More than 300 people died in Somalia but some are asking why there was less news coverage and sympathy on social media.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Kobe Steel: A scandal made in Japan

    Japan's third-largest steelmaker has admitted it faked data on parts used in cars, planes and trains.