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Women’s final: As it happened

This content was published 11 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

6.33 pm: Maria Sharapova defeats Sam Stosur 6-2, 6-4 and wins the 2011 Internazionali BNL d’Italia! Incredible display from the three-time Grand Slam champion. Stosur played into her hands with her kick-service but Sharapova was on top form today, despite the cold, windy conditions and the delay. She’s a threat at the French, and if she wins there, she will have complete her career Grand Slam. What a prospect!

6.27 pm: Sam holds – gutsy stuff from the punchy Aussie and now the onus is on Maria to hold. And Sam’s already broken her twice today…

6.24 pm: Sam strides into the net and floats a volley high, wide and ugly. Maria aces, as if she needed to. 5-3. And now Sam has to serve to stay in the match. 

6.14 pm: Three deuces are necessary but Maria holds. Whatever happens now, she could get over the line and get the eight points she needs on determination and will-power alone. She wants this. Sam looks resigned to her fate and cuts a disappointed figure.

6.05 pm: Five minutes is a long time in tennis. Sam’s services kick up into Maria’s home-run swing zone, then La Sharapova holds at a canter. 3-2. She’s 12 points away. The fat lady’s singing, the Majorcan’s stretching and the Serb’s yawning.

5.59 pm:  2-1, Sam holds and is ahead (in the set) for the first time in the match… Ah, and then Masha serves out to love. 2-2.

5.54 pm:  1-1, exchange of breaks. Can Sam “do a Murray”?

5.49 pm:  Sharapova breaks to open the second. Sam’s great kick service that kicked up to above shoulder height on Francesca Schiavone is sitting belt-high for 6’2″ Sharapova, hence Sam trying slow’uns, flat’uns, any’uns. And none of ‘uns is working. Credit to her for trying.

5.41 pm:  First set 6-2 Sharapova. Maria’s picking her spots on service, really painting the lines of the service boxes. They’re not that fast (145 – 167 km/h) but so accurate, and Sam’s missing shots due to the pressure.

5.36 pm:  5-2 Sharapova after an exchange of breaks. Sam is trying everything on service, including two attempts at putting one into the backhand corner on the Ad side (the first at 117 km/h which is slower than I serve) but little is coming off at the moment. Maria meanwhile is pumped, stoked and plenty of other adjectives that young sportsmen and women use these days (as well as giving each other props and big wraps).

5.28 pm:  Sam’s on the board after a strong service game but she’s already two breaks down. 4-1 Maria. Somebody go and wake up Nole.

5.18 pm:  Masha’s obviously been asked by Rafa to hurry it up so that Nole doesn’t get extra rest – it’s 3-0 Sharapova after two breaks and a hold. 12 points to one. Yikes.

5.12 pm:  Masha fires in some incredible returns and breaks to 15, the being a Sam ace. Amazing start from Masha, not hanging around.

5.06 pm:  OK, Sam and Maria have warmed up (properly this time!) and we’re about to get under way!

5 pm:  We have music, an uncovered court and an almost full stadium.

4.35 pm:  The rain has stopped and they’re mopping Centre Court and Pietrangeli. No official news yet but having the men’s doubles on Pietrangeli would be sensible.

4.12 pm:  Rain to stop by 5 pm apparently and it’ll then be clear for the rest of the evening!

3.40 pm:  The drizzle is now rain… #don’tshootthemessenger

3.05 pm:  No change, drizzle still light but persistent. Hmmm…

2.15 pm:  Rain delay. That’s a fine start to get off to! There’s a fine yet persistent drizzle and the covers are on. Hmmm… I think if play had started then they would have carried on, but since they hadn’t yet started, we’ll have to wait.

1.45 pm:  Good morning, afternoon, evening everyone, depending where you are in the world, and welcome to the 2011 Internazionali BNL d’Italia women’s final! What a match this promises to be Sam Stosur versus Maria Sharapova on Centre Court starting at 2.15 pm.

The form-book says that Maria will win, having done so all seven times (seven, count ’em) that these two have met in the past. But this time it’s on clay, which suits the compact Aussie’s punchy style. If it become a hitting contest (like the Sharapova – Wozniacki semi) then Maria will win. If Sam can move her opponent left and right and even bring her into the net, then the Aussie will take it, and I reckon Stosur will do just that and secure the biggest title of her career (and just the third overall after Osaka in 2009 and Charleston in 2010). Tweet me what you think @DrewLilley as always (and you can carry on doing so after the tournament has finished!)

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