Sharapova rallies past Halep to win Madrid title

Sun May 11, 2014 3:06pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Iain and Rogers

MADRID (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova recovered from a woeful start and fought back to overwhelm rising talent Simona Halep 1-6 6-2 6-3 in the Madrid Open final and claim her 31st career title on Sunday.

Russian Sharapova, a former world number one, needed to draw on all her experience on clay in the Spanish capital to see off the 22-year-old Romanian fourth seed, who was appearing in the final of a premier event for the first time.

Sharapova missed the second half of last season with a shoulder injury but her form suggests she may be a contender at the French Open which starts later this month.

By winning in Madrid, where she was runner-up last year to top-ranked American Serena Williams, Sharapova is projected to climb to number seven in the world when the rankings are updated on Monday.

"I don't take these moments for granted because I know what it's like to be out and injured and trying to find your way back just to play tennis," she told a news conference.

"I like the work that I put in and I want to get the opportunities to be in the final," added the 27-year-old, one of the best-paid athletes in sport who has her own clothing lines and a company that sells candy called Sugarpova.

"So it doesn't matter if I'm playing on the moon or in Madrid, to be in the final position is an honor."

Sharapova, the 2012 Roland Garros champion had shown glimpses of her best on her run to the final but looked all at sea in the early stages against a fired-up Halep, who attacked the Russian, five years her senior, at every opportunity.   Continued...

Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates holding the Ion Tiriac trophy after winning the Madrid Open final tennis match over Simona Halep of Romania in Madrid May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Andrea Comas