Maria Sharapova earned her first WTA title of the year on Sunday as she blasted her way past world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Stuttgart clay-court tournament.
It was 25-year-old Sharapova’s 25th title of her career, but her first this year after having lost three finals.
It was also revenge for both this year’s Australian Open and Indian Wells defeats at the hands of Azarenka and having also been runner-up at the Miami tournament, when she lost to Agnieszka Radwanska in straight sets.
Her victory in 84 minutes comes with both a winner’s check of US$115,000 and a new Porsche sports car.
Azarenka needed treatment on her right wrist after the first set and she did not look as sharp as she had done throughout the week, but she rallied in the second to push Sharapova.
“It’s a big win for me, it was my first time here and I am happy to have got a title,” said world No. 2 Sharapova, who had put out Wimbledon champion and world No. 3 Petra Kvitova in the semi-finals. “I have had some tough matches and have had to play well, it has been a good start to the clay-court season for me. I had lost a few finals recently, so I was really motivated, you always try and change a few things after you lose, and they came off.”
“It’s a shame she was injured and couldn’t play her normal game, but I am just happy to have won,” she said. “I came to Europe a bit earlier than normal before the French Open and was just going to use this tournament as a warm-up, but it works for me.”
“Congratulations to Maria, she’s had a good week here,” Azarenka said. “I had a problem with my wrist and it was bothering me, but it’s been bothering me all week. There is not much to say about it, I just got off court and will see what I can do to get it right before Madrid.”