Maria Sharapova beats Li Na to retain Stuttgart title
Maria Sharapova won her 16th consecutive clay-court match as she beat China's Li Na to retain her Porsche Tennis Grand Prix title.
The Russian world number two was in control from the outset and won 6-4 6-3, claiming victory in Stuttgart in one hour and 33 minutes.
It was the perfect preparation for the 26-year-old French Open champion's title defence at Roland Garros in May.
Sharapova has won two tour titles this season after
The number one seed claimed two out of the three breaks of serve in the first set to open a 4-1 lead before her second-seeded opponent could break back in what became a closely fought first set.
But Sharapova, who had a first-serve percentage of 76%, was to wrap things up in a more comfortable second, meaning she avoided what would have been a fourth successive three-set match.
"I thought I would play three sets today," said Sharapova. "Li is a great opponent. I knew it would be one of the toughest matches because she had a great week.