Maria Sharapova won a second straight title as she repeated her trophy triumph from 2011 at the Foro Italico, defeating French Open champion Li Na of China in the final of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. Men's racquet rebel Novak Djokovic reached another final against Rafael Nadal which was played a day late due to the weekend rain. The HEAD ace came up just short in a 7-5, 6-3 result but heads into the French Open looking to make history for himself as he bids to win a fourth consecutive Grand Slam title.
"There is a possibility to win four in a row and I'm going to be preparing for this Grand Slam as I have all the others. It's a big event, it’s two weeks long and one of our most important tournaments," said the YouTek IG Speed MP player. "I want to deliver my best game. I'm feeling good on the court, I just need to make a few adjustments before Paris but I'll be in top form."
Sharapova's victory over Li came in testing conditions, with rain interrupting for almost two and a half hours as the tight match stood poised on a third set tiebreaker. Sharapova, playing with her YouTek IG Instinct MP, maintained concentration during the painful pause and came back out to win the title. The match featured massive momentum shifts, with Sharapova fighting back from a set and 4-0 down.
"It was a really difficult match with so many swings," said the HEAD winner, who added a second clay title to her haul for 2012 after winning Stuttgart and now heads to the French Open with massive confidence. "It was tough having to wait two hours. It's difficult to have a loser and a winner, but I'm happy.”
World No. 2 Sharapova extended her perfect record in clay court finals to 5-0 and became the third woman in the last nine years to defend the Rome title. "It's great to beat someone with the level she played last year, this is a great win for me going into the French Open," said the Russian.
There was more success for HEAD's Italian ace Roberta Vinci (YouTek IG Extreme Pro), who teamed with compatriot Sara Errani to defeat Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-2, 7-5 to win the women's doubles trophy.
The winners were the first Italians to take the home honours since 1985. Vinci has now won five doubles trophies this year: Monterrey, Acapulco, Barcelona and Madrid and Rome - all on clay.