China Open 2014: Maria Sharapova beats Petra Kvitova in final to close in on No 1 spot

Russia is now just 467 points behind Serena Williams

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The Independent Online

Twelve months after wondering whether her latest shoulder problem might bring down the curtain on her career, Maria Sharapova could be one tournament away from becoming world No 1 for the sixth time. The 27-year-old Russian will climb to No 2 in today’s updated ranking list following her 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory here today over Petra Kvitova in the final of the China Open and is now just 467 points behind Serena Williams.

Sharapova, who played only one match between Wimbledon and the end of last year because of a shoulder injury, could overtake Williams later this month at the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore, where the champion will earn 1,500 points. Williams put her own participation in the Finals in doubt when she pulled out of her semi-final here with a knee injury.

Winning her sixth match in nine days, Sharapova claimed her fourth title of the year but her first on a hard court and the first of her career in China after an up-and-down contest that lasted two and a half hours. Kvitova, who won the title in Wuhan last week and would have climbed to No 2 with victory here, eventually paid the price for 44 unforced errors.

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