“Another three set match was not an option for me today. I knew I had to win in straight sets to have a chance at the title’” says Maria Sharapova the number one seed, after defeating Li Na, seeded 2, in the final match in Stuttgart, 6-4, 6-3. Maria is undefeated at this event for the last two years, with a record of of 8-0. It is Maria second title of the season, after Indian Wells.
It has been a busy week in Stuttgart for Sharapova playing three consecutive three set matches on her way to the finals. But today against Li Na, Maria started the match very focused and controlling the points right away. In the first game of the match. Li Na didn’t seem comfortable with Maria’s pace and loses the game. Serving at 0-2, Li Na was having trouble dealing with Maria strategy of keeping the balls down the middle. Later on, Maria’s coach, Thomas Hogstedt, reminded Maria to use this strategy when needed saying that Li Na didn’t know what to do with those type of shots. He also reminded Maria to keep mixing up the pace and placement and to keep the pressure on Li Na all the time. It seems that Maria did listen to him this time and perhaps her attention spam is not as short as she said it was.
The first set started to get more competitive and unpredictable as Maria goes up 4-1 and Li Na starts moving better. Li seemed to have calmed herself down. Her strokes became more penetrating and she was able to move Maria around the court more. Both players were serving well as Maria got more than 80 % of her first serves points. Luckily for Maria, a good early start, secured by the early break on the set helped her towards the end of this difficult and competitive first set. Maria prevailed, winning it 6-4.
The second set, was a display of great strokes, excellent ball placement and tremendous fighting spirit by both players. Li served at 3-3 and Maria stepped up, as her coach, reminded her to do early on. She ran down every shot, as Li Na, patiently moved her opponent back and forth on the court, trying to find an opening. After a few good rallies by both players ,Maria would hit behind Li Na, which is a good strategy on clay. At the end of this 7th game, having a break point, Maria played a brilliant point and makes a winner down the line, and gets the important break for 4-3. She screams out loud her trade mark “Come on ” as her team showed tremendous support, and excitement. They knew the break was almost like a match point at this stage of the match. Maria wins the next game and closes the set at 6-3, winning the match.
For Maria, this is her second consecutive Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title and she takes home one more porsche car. She will also start her three year deal to be a worldwide ambassador for Porsche, leading their Global Marketing campaign. For the tour, the victory is an important one since its the first clay court event of the season and last year, after Maria won this title she went on to grab more important titles, in Rome and the most prestigious of them all, Roland Garros.
Porsche tennis Grand Prix 2013