This content was published 10 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
It feels like déjà vu but Maria Sharapova is back in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final and gunning to regain her title she won here last year. Fans looking forward to a match up with Serena Williams were left disappointed though as the American withdrew, leaving Sharapova with a meeting with Chinese woman Li Na.
The Russian has not dropped a set yet in the tournament with her serving proving to be too strong for many of her opponents, and she will fancy her chances on familiar territory on Sunday afternoon.
“It feel good coming back to the place where you have accomplished so much and to be in the position to regain that position,” said Sharapova. “I am happy how I have progressed and I started in the first round and I had tough matches and I have improved and I hope to continue improving.
“Obviously it is extremely important to serve well and an important part of my game. It is important on clay – the difference is because you win the points differently than on the fast court and you open up the court.
“The most important thing is physically feeling stronger on the court and handling longer rallies and I recover better. Saving myself and being able to recover better, I have improved a lot in that department.
Sharapova was not sympathetic to Victoria Azarenka’s plight after the Belarusian withdrew earlier in the week, but she felt the pain of Serena who opted against continuing with a slight back injury.
“It’s tough in terms of Serena playing six matches in eight days and only one day off coming here,” said Sharapova. “It’s difficult to play and when you have five or six matches because she didn’t have a bye – and it doesn’t matter who it is – it is challenging. I was in her position also here and it’s a tough position because you get yourself into that position and you just want to be healthy.”