INDIAN WELLS, California (Reuters) - Second seed Maria Sharapova won her first title since last year’s French Open with a 6-2 6-2 demolition of Caroline Wozniacki in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.
In a showdown between two former world number ones, the second-seeded Russian overpowered the Dane with a ruthless display, breaking her twice in each set to seal victory in one hour 21 minutes.
Sharapova played aggressively throughout with an array of deep groundstrokes and superb serving to claim her second title at Indian Wells after winning for the first time in 2006.
The 25-year-old Russian ended the match in champion style with a 109 mph service winner before raising both arms skywards in celebration.
“What makes it so special is when you end up as the champion, that’s why I am smiling,” a beaming Sharapova said courtside after extending her run of at least one WTA title each year since 2003.
“I really appreciate these moments. This is what I do all the work for. When you have days like this ... it’s a really nice feeling because everything has paid off.”
Eighth seed and 2011 Indian Wells champion Wozniacki, who like Sharapova was competing in her third final here, applauded the Russian’s high-quality performance.
“Maria played really well, better than me,” the 22-year-old Dane said. “Get my revenge hopefully in Miami (next week’s WTA event), maybe we will play in the final there as well.”
Sharapova made a fast start on a sun-splashed afternoon at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, unleashing a barrage of fierce ground strokes and breaking Wozniacki in the first game of the match with a forehand winner down the line.
The Russian was also serving well, regularly firing down first serves above 100 mph, and she broke her opponent again in the seventh to lead 5-2 when a Wozniacki backhand sailed wide.
Maintaining an aggressive approach, Sharapova gave the Dane two break points at 15-40 in the eighth game after hitting a backhand long followed by a booming forehand that bounced beyond the baseline.
However the ice-cool Russian got back to deuce with successive backhand crosscourt winners, earned her first set point with a 104 mph ace and finished it off with another searing forehand winner.
Wozniacki failed to hold in the opening game of the second set after double faulting, and was also broken in a protracted seventh game, saving three break points before hitting a backhand wide to trail 2-5.
Sharapova wasted little time in serving out for the match, a crunching crosscourt forehand forcing an error from her opponent to put her 40-0 before she finished off with a service winner.
The Russian world number three, a four-times grand slam singles champion, will rise to two when the rankings are issued on Monday.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes; Editing by Gene Cherry