This content was published 7 years ago. It may refer to a past edition of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.
Maria Sharapova was pushed by qualifier Daria Gavrilova but in the end, class prevailed as the Russian moved into the final of the event she won in 2011 and 2012.
In doing so she also became world number two and afterwards was able to reflect on a thoroughly professional performance as she won 75 63.
Pleasingly for Sharapova she was able to correct the first serve issue that was only at 45 per cent on Friday against Victoria Azarenka on Friday. This time it was back up to 71 per cent as she guaranteed her return to second in the rankings.
“I did a good job of just being aggressive,” she said. “I think I served pretty well so I’m happy with that.
“She played some good points and deserved the crowd behind her. It was a good effort especially when she was down, that’s the way crowds should be. They should be creating energy.”
Gavrilova’s exploits this week mean that she will enter the world’s top 50 and she could reflect on an enjoyable week having reached her first semi-final although she struggled with a stomach problem against Sharapova.
“It was a great week although of course I’m disappointed with the loss,” said the Russian. “I felt the stomach and it was getting worse and worse and that is difficult against Maria. Getting to the semis from qualifying is pretty amazing. I did not have that expectation and will feel good going into the French.”