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Sharapova beats Ivanovic in Stuttgart final

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POSTED April 27, 2014 10:27 p.m.

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Maria Sharapova won her third straight Porsche Grand Prix title on Sunday by coming from behind to defeat Ana Ivanovic 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 in the final.

Sharapova won her first tournament of the year and clinched the 30th title of her career. She is now undefeated in 13 consecutive matches on the indoor clay in Stuttgart.

Ivanovic wasted a 3-1 lead in the second set as Sharapova raised her game to stay in the high-quality match between two former top-ranked players and French Open champions. Ivanovic was seeking her third title of the year.

“I just tried to hang in there,” Sharapova said. “For the first half of the match I thought it might not be my day today, but somehow I turned it around.”

Ivanovic got off to a flying a start and won the first five games of the match before Sharapova started fighting back.

Ivanovic wasted a set point and could not serve out the set at her first attempt. She gifted Sharapova another game with a double-fault but finally pulled together to win the first set.

Sharapova had trouble reading Ivanovic’s varied game and change of pace. But she held on as Ivanovic began to lose her focus.

“From the first moment it was always a close match,” Ivanovic said. “It was always a few close balls to decide each game, and it went on the whole match. In the second set she definitely went for those big shots, though, and she made some amazing points.

“She’s just a great player, and that’s what happens when you play against great players in big matches like this. You need to use your opportunities.”

• • •

Nishikori beats Giraldo to win Barcelona Open

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Kei Nishikori of Japan beat Colombia’s Santiago Giraldo 6-2, 6-2 to win the Barcelona Open on Sunday for his first career title on clay.

Giraldo started well with an early break but an argument with the chair umpire about a line call seemed to rattle the unseeded player. Shortly afterward, Giraldo failed to reach Nishikori’s drop shot before hitting a costly double-fault to cede back his serve.

The fourth-seeded Nishikori went on to win eight straight games to claim the first set and take control of the match. He ended up converting five of seven break chances while Giraldo committed five double faults.

Nishikori said he hopes his maiden win on clay will carry over to upcoming tournaments and the French Open.

 

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