Early Rome defeat was a blessing for Sharapova

Fri May 23, 2014 10:07am EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova is not the sort to take defeat lightly yet the former world number one believes her early exit at the Italian Open could be a blessing in disguise for the French Open.

The Russian, seeded seventh in Paris, won back-to-back claycourt titles in Stuttgart and Madrid but her run came to an end when Ana Ivanovic beat her in the third round in Rome.

"I think it gave me a few extra days maybe to rest," Russian Sharapova, the 2012 French Open champion and runner-up last year, told reporters.

"To get on the courts as soon you can and get as many hours on the big courts as you might get before everybody else comes.

"So in a way it's been great to have that."

Sharapova completed her career grand slam in Paris two years ago as she finally mastered a surface that baffled her on occasions in previous years.

Her wins in Stuttgart and Madrid underlined just how comfortable and confident she now feels on clay.

"I had great preparation. I had two great tournaments and had really tough matches, easier matches," she said.   Continued...

Maria Sharapova of Russia looks on before her women's singles match against Ana Ivanovic of Serbia at the Rome Masters tennis tournament May 15, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi