Italian Open: Maria Sharapova wins third title in Rome

Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova had won three of her four previous meetings against Carla Suarez Navarro

Russian third seed Maria Sharapova came from a set down to beat Spain's Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6 7-5 6-1 and win her third Italian Open title.

Suarez Navarro, the world number 10, battled hard in the first two sets but ran out of energy in the decider.

Her best chance came at 5-5 in the second set but Sharapova finished the set with eight straight points.

The Russian capitalised on her opponent's weakness in the third set as she swept to a 35th career crown.

Suarez Navarro, who was bidding for the second title of her career, made a strong start and broke Sharapova midway through the first set as the Russian tried to force matters.

The Spaniard continued to cause problems in the second set but once Sharapova found her way into the match she looked strong, despite committing plenty of unforced errors.

Sharapova, who will be second seed for the French Open which starts on 24 May, broke Suarez Navarro in the eighth game of the second set for a 5-3 lead and after going on to hand her opponent three break points in the next game, she eventually recovered to level the match.

The Russian handed Suarez Navarro a break point in the opening game of the third set and despite twice saving the game, the Spaniard moved ahead when Sharapova hit an easy return just wide.

That setback only served to spur the Russian on, who broke back immediately, sealing the game with a two-handed backhand return. From then on she dominated, holding serve on her final game to seal the victory.

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