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Sharapova knocks out Li in a see-saw battle to defend Rome title
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Reads: 1,736, Comments: 0
As expected, the title match between Maria Sharapova and Na Li saw melodramatic alterations in momentum and finally the Russian proved – why she is such a torrent force on tour. Second-seeded and defending champion Maria Sharapova came from a set and 0-4 down to beat the Chinese Na Li with a 4-6 6-4 7-5 (5) scoreline and defended her Rome WTA title on Sunday in the final match of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, a WTA Premier Tournament being played here in Rome, Italy. Sharapova saved a championship point and also battled a rain delay to emerge victorious in this title match.
There were many twists and turns in this battle, but finally the Russian came through in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Sharapova mustered 59% points on her first serve with the help of 20 winners and duly converted 6 out of 13 break-points.
After 46 minutes of play, Chinese tennis sensation Na Li managed to claim the first set. Li mustered 72% points on her first serve and converted 2 out of 3 break-points. She also got benefited from Sharapova's 16 unforced errors. Both the contenders looked at par with each other in the early stages but then Li raised the level of her game at the right time - and won the first set.
Sharapova claimed the see-saw second-set and earned the equalizer. Tremendous recovery from 0-4 down in the second-set, as Sharapova won the next six games from there on and took that battle into the final set. Sharapova took 51 minutes to win the second-set. Much had been contributed by Li's 24 unforced errors.
Both contenders exchanged breaks and then the final set went into a tie-breaker. But then the play was halted by rain. Sharapova played well when the play resumed and won the final set in a tie-breaker – to defend her title.
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