Maria Sharapova overcame a first set deficit to outlast feisty Romanian Simona Halep to secured the Mutua Madrid Open 2014 title on Sunday. The Russian won 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.
Sharapova remains unbeaten on clay since 2011 French to anyone not named Serena Williams. She also ended Halep’s finals streak. Halep has gone 7-0 on finals since last year but couldn’t convert on her eighth.
“What a week,” Sharapova said during the on-court interview. “Last year I lost in the finals and I really wanted to go one extra step this year, and it’s just been such a fantastic week.
“Simona and I had played a couple of times before, but she’s really on a different level now. I don’t know how I pulled it off. In the first set I wasn’t doing much to hurt her, and that’s the tennis she’s capable of playing – I knew I had to do some different things after the first set to win this match.
“I don’t take any finals for granted, and every tournament means a lot to me. I came close last year, and I didn’t have a great first set today, but I knew it wasn’t over until the last point was played.”
Sharapova is now touted as the favorite to win her second Roland Garros title after winning two back to back claycourt titles in Stuttgart and Madrid. With world number one Serena Williams questionable in Rome this week, Sharapova may just have a shot to make a sweep during the claycourt season.
Meanwhile, in women’s doubles, Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci of Italy capped off a remarkable week by ending the dream run of Spaniards Carla Suarez Navarro and Garbine Muguruza. This is the duo’s 19th doubles title together.