Sharapova retains Italian Open title

Italian Open
By Rajesh Srinivasan, May 22nd, 2012

Maria Sharapova retained her title beating French Open champion Li Na 4-6, 6-4,7-6(5) while the men’s final between Djokovic and Nadal was postponed to Monday because of the heavy rain. The match was a strange one with the fortunes fluctuating wildly and was played in steady rain. Sharapova was down a set and 4-0 when Li Na broke down losing eight games in a row to lose the second set and down a break in the third.

Maria Sharapova with Italian Open Trophy

Sharapova seemed set for victory when she led 4-1 in the third set. The rains started getting heavier but still play continued. Suddenly Li Na regained her composure to win four games in a row to lead 5-4. Maria Sharapova levelled at 5-5 and there was a brief rain interruption. Again Sharapova had to serve to stay in the match at 5-6. At deuce as the rain continued to pour, the umpire came down to get the players opinion regarding continuation of play and even leaving the decision to them.

The players opted to continue and Li Na put pressure on her opponent when Sharapova made a mess of an easy smash at the net. The ball hit the net cord and fell wide handing Li Na a championship point. Sharapova showed her fighting spirit in saving match point with a superb forehand winner. At game point Sharapova then served her 10th double fault. On the next point Li Na almost slipped but managed to hold her footing. Sharapova hit a service winner to force a tie break. The match was halted for two hours because of rain. On resumption, Sharapova won the tie break 7-5 to retain her title after two hours and 52 minutes on court.


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