Sharapova still no match for Serena – even on an off-day

World No 1 overcomes error-strewn and lethargic display to crush peak-form rival

The standards Serena Williams sets herself are such that even tournament titles are sometimes not enough. When the world No 1 analysed her 4-6, 6-3, 6-0 victory over Maria Sharapova in the Miami final on Saturday it was as though she was talking about a defeat.

"Today wasn't my day," Williams said. "Maria played the best I have seen her play. She was moving unbelievably well and hitting winners from everywhere. After the first set I had more than 20 unforced errors and I just thought: 'Why am I playing like this?'

"How did I end up winning when I actually wasn't on top of my game? I need that tape so I can go home and study it and train and try to get better," she added.

"I was making so many errors. I was like: 'Serena, are you really going to get to the final and not play up to your potential?' I don't think I was as energised as I could be. I don't think I had enough energy. I think I may have done too much work yesterday, may have hit too long and done too much gym."

Nevertheless, a lethargic and error-prone Williams was still too good for Sharapova, who had won her previous 11 matches. After taking advantage of Williams' mistakes in the first set, and ending a run of 13 successive lost sets to the American, Sharapova was outgunned and outclassed. She lost the last 10 games as she went down to her 11th defeat in a row to Williams .

Sharapova has yet to win the Miami title, despite appearing in five finals, while Williams became only the fourth woman in the Open era – after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf – to win the same Women's Tennis Association tournament on six occasions.

When Williams reclaimed the world No 1 ranking in February she insisted she would not chase ranking points in defence of the position. The likelihood is that she will not need to. This was only her second tournament since the Australian Open, but she will strengthen her position at the top of the rankings in today's updated list.

Williams is likely to increase her lead over Sharapova, the world No 2, by the end of the French Open. While Sharapova has a mountain of points to defend on clay, Williams has comparatively few, especially at Roland Garros, where she lost in the first round last year. Victoria Azarenka, the world No 3, is the only other immediate threat and the Belarusian also has a substantial number of points to defend in the coming weeks, especially at the start of the clay-court season.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
News
i100
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz