Maria Sharapova kept her cool on her way to outlasting Carla Suarez Navarro in a gruelling Rome Masters final on Sunday.
The third seed came back from losing the opening set to the resilient Spaniard to scrape to a 4-6 7-5 6-1 win in 2 hours and 35 minutes.
“It wasn’t easy to find a rhythm out there, with the way she plays, and the wind – I really had to adjust,” Sharapova was quoted as saying on WTA’s website.
“But I’m proud I was able to stay in there. I never felt I was playing very clean until the end of the third set. So it shows that it’s good to hang in there and just stay positive out there.”
After moving one-set up Suarez Navarro fought back from trailing 1-3 and 3-5 to levelling 3-all and then 5-all respectively and, even moved two games close to victory.
But the Russian upped the antics, winning back-to-back love games to take the second set. He made a walk of the third set to claim her third triumph in Rome (2011, 2012 and 2015) and her 35th WTA career title.
Reaching the Rome Masters final, secured Sharapova’s rise from No. 3 to No. 2 and, in consequence, will keep her on opposite sides of the French Open draw with World No. 1 Serena Williams- meaning they will not meet until a possible Roland Garros final.
It has been a ground breaking week for Suarez Navarro, who nonetheless beat three top-10 players at the same tournament for the first time on her way to the final- the last being No. 2-ranked Simona Halep. She will rise from No. 10 to No. 8 when the rankings are released on Monday.