In a battle of former No. 1s and Indian Wells champions, it was veteran blondie Maria Sharapova taking home the top prize in the desert for the second time defeating Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2.
It was one of Sharapova’s best performances in a final and it capped a great week in which she never lost a set en route to her 28th career title, her first since collecting the Career Grand Slam at the French Open last June.
“I didn’t feel like I played my best tennis in the beginning of the tournament, but sometimes that’s the way it works,” said Sharapova who first won Indian Wells in 2006 as a teen. “It’s always better to work yourself through the tournament and get better as it ends than to start extremely well and don’t feel like you’re gaining momentum as the tournament goes on.”
Sharapova has now leads Wozniacki 5-2 in their head-to-head series having won three straight.
“The scoreline makes the match look a lot easier than it was – it was a tough match, a tough battle, and there were a lot of games that went to deuce and long games,” Sharapova said. “Those games could have easily swung the other way, especially some opportunities she had in the second set. I felt like I was always a foot ahead though, especially with the breaks – I served well today, and that helped me.
“She’s someone who makes you hit so many balls if she has time, and that’s not the way I want to be and not how to control points. It was really important to take away that time she likes to have.
Sharapova has now won at least one title each of the last 11 years, quite a remarkable achievement for the Russian who turns 26 next month.
Wozniacki finished with just 2 winners to Sharapova’s 33. The Dane was seeking her first trophy since Seoul last fall.
“I’ve felt very good all year about my game,” Wozniacki said. “I have to be happy with the finals here. It’s a very big tournament. It’s been a good two weeks for me. I’ve been fighting and playing some really good tennis. I’ve been having to think a lot and play some chess out there – I’ve had to play aggressive, defensive, and everything that I had.
“Today there wasn’t time for chess.”
Both players will now head to Miami where the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, are also expected to compete. Former US Open champion Sam Stosur, however, will not be there. The Australian who injured her calf in her last match at Indian Wells has withdrawn from the event.
The title also lifts Sharapova to the No. 2 ranking and the second seed across from Serena Williams in Miami.
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