When it rainy Rome, gut it out like Sharapova did

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2012)

Maria will now hit the highway to Paris.

The Rome final was by no means pretty. It was muddy and sloppy and the only consistent rhythm on court was the drumbeat of the rain drops. But still, Maria Sharapova and Li Na battled fiercely in the Italian Open final , and when it ended after two stoppages for rain, Sharapova had defended her title in a 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(5) victory in more than two hours.

The match wildly swung up and down, with Li getting out to a 6-4, 4-0 lead before she began to err badly and Sharapova grew steadier, and Sharapova racing to a 4-2 , 40-15 lead in the third before she did much the same. Down 5-6, Sharapova fended off a match point by ripping a forehand in the heavy rain.

They then returned for the breaker, and Sharapova was more confident on the key points and managed to contain herself off the ground. Now she

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