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Sharapova claims third title at Stuttgart Open Dimitrov beats Rosol in Bucharest

STUTTGART, Germany, April 27, (AFP): Maria Sharapova claimed a hat-trick of Stuttgart titles on Sunday after coming from behind to win a three-set battle royal with Ana Ivanovic in Sunday’s final. Having won the 2012 and 2013 titles here, the 27-year-old Sharapova was made to work hard for her 13th consecutive win on Stuttgart’s clay-courts for the 30th final win of her career before over-powering Ivanovic to claim a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory in just over two hours. “That was a tough bit of work,” said Sharapova, who has won all four Grand Slam titles. “I have always believed in my chances and the fighting spirit is something that comes from within me.” This was the first time Sharapova has claimed a third title at an individual tournament and comes on the back of last year’s shoulder injury.

“This time around it’s been extremely tough, that’s why this win is so special,” admitted Sharapova. The Russian collects the winners cheque of 96,774 euros (US$133,896) and a brand-new sports car. “I will need to build a new garage to get all the cars in,” she joked as she collected her third Porsche sports car in as many years from the tournament director. It is the Russian’s first clay-court tournament in her build-up to the French Open, having lost to Serena Williams in last year’s final. “We have seen what a great player Maria is,” admitted Ivanovic. aving been taken to three sets by the Czech Republic’s Lucie Safarova in her first-round match, Russia’s Sharapova had swept into the final with straight set wins over compatriot Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, top-seed Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, then Italian clay-court specialist Sara Errani in the semi-finals. But Ivanovic, the ninth seed, made the statuesque Russian dig deep and the 26-year-old wasted no time asserting herself over Sharapova, racing into a a 5-0 lead in the first set before the defending champion responded, but the Serbian held her serve to take the first set.

Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov won his second ATP title of the year on Sunday when he defeated Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/2), 6-1 in the final of the Bucharest Open. Ranked 16th in the world going into this week, Dimitrov, who previously had won in Acapulco where he defeated Andy Murray in the semi-finals, struggled against the big-hitting Rosol in the first set. The Bulgarian took a 2-0 lead in what was the pair’s first meeting, but defending champion Rosol bounced back immediately. Rosol saved four set points from 15/40 at 5-6, before Dimitrov dominated the tie-break to wrap up the first set in 58 minutes. He then maintained the momentum by taking a 2-0 lead in the second set and broke Rosol for a third time, to love at 1-3 as he moved on to his 20th match win of 2014.

“It feels good to have won,” said Dimitrov who now has three career titles. “I knew I had to lift my level, especially after the first set. Lukas is a very good player, who hit some outstanding winners. “I have worked really hard to start winning titles. I have put in enough effort, time and sacrifices to get here.” Dimitrov had reached the final on Saturday when his French opponent, Gael Monfils, retired after just 16 minutes of their semi-final.


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