• Western & Southern Open

Sharapova wins epic Cincinnati final

ESPN staff
August 22, 2011
Maria Sharpova lifts the trophy in Ohio © Getty Images

Maria Sharapova battled back from a set down to claim her second WTA Tour title of the year, defeating Jelena Jankovic in an epic final at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The world No. 4 remained strong in the extreme heat to hang on to a 4-6 7-6(3) 6-3 triumph in a match which lasted just under three hours. Sharapova held her nerve late in the match as both players traded regular breaks of serve throughout the tense contest.

For her part, Jankovic started brightly, skipping out to a 4-1 lead in the first set as Sharapova began to lose her cool. However, after winning the first set in relatively comfortable fashion, the Serbian started to struggle on serve, dishing up nine double-faults and subsequently facing a staggering 22 break points in the match.

The second set was indeed a tight encounter with both players trading breaks of serve in the seventh and eighth games before Sharapova took a crucial advantage in the tiebreaker. Sharapova's mood then lifted as the score stood at a set apiece.

The baking conditions began to tell on both players in the deciding set, evidenced by the first six games which all went against serve. Jankovic's shaky delivery then cost her dearly as the No. 13 seed served back-to-back double-faults to gift the Russian a 5-4 lead.

Sharapova duly obliged by holding her serve in the tenth game to claim the 24th title of her career, somewhat making amends for losing the final at the same event last year against Kim Clijsters.

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