Ruthless Maria Sharapova dominates in final mismatch at Indian Wells
Sharapova won 6-2, 6-2 over Caroline Wozniacki
Maria Sharapova had a quiet first two months of the year by her standards, but the 25-year-old Russian underlined her determination to remain a big noise by winning her first title of 2013 in Indian Wells last night.
Sharapova's 6-2, 6-2 victory over Caroline Wozniacki will see her replace Victoria Azarenka at No 2 in today's updated world ranking list, while the manner of her victory suggested she will again be a contender for major honours this year.
The meeting of two former world No 1s and former Indian Wells champions was a serious mismatch. Sharapova, hitting the ball with great power from both flanks, never let Wozniacki settle into any sort of rhythm.
The Dane, who had a miserable first half of 2012 but has shown signs of a return to form of late, saw Sharapova treat some of her serves with contempt and was repeatedly punished for leaving the ball short. Sharapova, who did not drop a set in her six matches in the tournament, hit 33 winners, while Wozniacki managed just two.
Wozniacki had lost four of her previous six meetings with the Russian, though Sharapova had won just three games in their only previous meeting in this tournament in the 2011 semi-finals.
Sharapova, who has now won at least one title every year since 2003, took command from the very start, winning eight of the first nine points. Wozniacki, who will climb one place to No 9 in the rankings today, hung on until Sharapova, playing in her first final of the year, won five games in a row from 3-2 up.
Having taken the first set with a typically powerful forehand winner down the line, Sharapova quickly took control of the second and closed out victory by converting her first match point with a service winner after an hour and 21 minutes.
Azarenka and Serena Williams, the world No 1, had been threatening to stretch away from the rest of the field in recent times, but this performance suggested that Sharapova can be just as potent a force as she was in 2012, when she completed her set of Grand Slam titles by winning the French Open and briefly recaptured the world No 1 ranking.
Lionel Messi dumps Jerome Boateng: The moment two-goal hero made Bayern Munich defender look like 'baby in a playpen'
Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match report: Lionel Messi double and Neymar strike put Barca on course for Champions League final
Floyd Mayweather mocks Manny Pacquiao: 'Winners win and losers have excuses'
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings
Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City in top eight of Forbes Rich List
- 2 Qataris pledge to expand Canary Wharf
- 3 #JeSuisEd: People share photos of themselves eating awkwardly in solidarity with Labour leader
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
General election live: Booths open at 7am across the country on polling day