This content was published 8 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali d’Italia.
Maria Sharapova’s level of fitness and tactical know-how are helping her becoming a major success on the red clay.
The Russian has suddenly emerged as a big player on clay over the last five years and now has three Rome titles in five attempts.
Sharapova was able to change the way she played tactically after losing the first set and in the end she won the final set comfortably after being put firmly to the test by Carla Suarez Navarro. In all it was her 11th clay court title, the perfect tonic going into the French Open.
“I thought in the first and second set I was doing the right things at times,” she said. “I’m glad I gave myself a chance to turn it around. She’s a really all-round player but she was really far behind the baseline today. I feel I took a great advantage of that.
“I’m really happy that I stayed with it. I felt like in the end I was the fresher one. I felt like I was more aggressive so it’s a positive.
“I think I started doing a little bit more on the return, she was winning way too many points on her serve that I should have won.
“It wasn’t easy to get her rhythm with the way that she plays and the wind. I had to adjust. I never felt like it was very clean until the end of third set.
“I feel I’m in a much better spot to where I was physically. I am prepared enough to be ready.
“I feel bamby, I’ve definitely progressed on clay, that’s no secret. It wasn’t an overnight success for sure. It was a lot of work, physical and mental to get at the stage.”