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Sharapova reign continues

This content was published 10 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

Maria Sharapova continued her love affair with the rain and Rome to reign supreme for the second year running at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia. But this was no routine win and amid extraordinary scenes the Russian eventually triumphed 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) having fought from a set and 4-0 down to beat Li Na.

The last set was played in driving rain before the match was eventually halted at 6-6. The players were able to emerge two hours later just to complete the tiebreak, and Sharapova later stressed her enjoyment of bad weather comes right back to her formulative year.

“I love rain,” she said. “I loved it since I was young because I didn’t have to practice. Especially when I was in California and in Florida there is no chance of indoors. I like rain. I don’t mind it. I like sun too. When I won Wimbledon when I was down against Davenport and I was booking my ticket back home and then we went out and I said I am going to turn this around and so this is my most memorable tennis rain.

“I’ve been in a couple with rain delays but never this situation and playing a tie breaker and we were all thinking to come back tomorrow and so the warm up was longer that the match and so with so many swings. I thought I was not in the match at 4-0 and she was moving well and then down match point – when I got off the court I thought about not to think of all these swings and conserve energy.”

Sharapova is now starting to enjoy herself on the clay court surface as she goes in search of a career Grand Slam at Roland Garros.

“I have improved and most of it comes down to the physical aspect and patience,” she said. “I’ve not changed my game but relied on the things I have improved like sliding and playing and definitely on the serve and this is helping.

“It’s great to beat someone with the level she played last year and how she can play on clay and how she defends and get herself back in position. It’s nice to have a week off after playing so many tournaments.”

While Sharapova was also smiles her Chinese opponent was looking back at what might have been ahead of her defence at Roland Garros.
“The match was a joke,” said Li Na. “It was very tough and I still have to have some positive things. Both players had a chance and she was more stronger and more tough.

I still have confidence but this shows how strong you are and I have to say I physically I feel great. Right now I can slide on court and get back to opposition and I liked the way I hit on court – a lot of positive things and I think I am ready for the French Open.

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