Maria Sharapova defends Stuttgart title

ESPN staff
April 28, 2013
Sharapova drives past Na for victory

Maria Sharapova defended her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title with a straight sets victory over Li Na in Stuttgart.

The world No. 2 also became the first player since Lindsay Davenport eight years ago to successfully retain the trophy, the Russian doing so following a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win over the former French Open champion.

Sharapova extends her unbeaten run on clay to 16 matches, and has only tasted three defeats in the campaign as the 26-year-old prepares to defend her title at Roland Garros at the end of next month.

Sharapova kicked off the final with a break sealed through a backhand winner down the line, and the second break arrived in the fifth game as Sharapova continued to dominate the rallies.

Li then recovered one of the breaks to make the score 4-3, but Sharapova powered her way to the first set to seize the advantage in the final.

Li began positively in the second set by coming through unscathed in her first three service games. However, Sharapova matched her opponent, and then made her move in the seventh game to secure the break, before clinching three games on the spin to wrap up the match and retain her trophy.

"I really tried to do the right things from the beginning to the end and not have a letdown like I did in the other matches - there were some struggles in those," Sharapova, who won in three sets in all of her previous three matches this week, said.

"But I kept giving myself chances to go to the next round, and I think I really played my best tennis of the week today."

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