Sharapova outlasts Li in Rome final

Maria Sharapova and Li Na battled for nearly three hours with neither player seemingly wanting to claim the title; however in the end, Sharapova edged the Roland Garros champion and saved one match point in a 4-6 6-4 7-6 victory.  Li was playing her best tennis in the first set as she led 6-4 4-0.  It was probably the most impressive she has been since that title run in Paris last year.  However as she did in her quarter-final to Dominika Cibulkova, she allowed her opponent back into the match.  She got away with it against Cibulkova, but against someone of Sharapova’s stature that was not going to happen.  Li found herself losing six straight games in the second set and almost buried in a 4-1 40-15 third set deficit.  
This was no ordinary match though as Sharapova decided to then go wandering and gave Li a key back into the match.  The quality of the match through much of the second and third sets was dire at best but they did manage to produce some of the best tennis in the worst possible conditions as the rain became heavier and heavier towards the end.  A rain delay forced the players to come back to complete the final set tiebreak where Sharapova eventually prevailed…
Maria Sharapova

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