Russian third seed Maria Sharapova lifted her third Italian Open title with a three-set win over Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro at the Foro Italico in Rome on Sunday.
Sharapova, who had booked place in the title clash with a two-set win over her compatriot Daria Gavrilova, recovered after dropping the first set to secure 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in the contest that lasted two and a half hours.
It was 28-year-old Russian’s 35th career WTA Tour title and second this year after her Brisbane International triumph in January.
Following the victory, Sharapova will start her French Open title defence as second seed. The Grand Slam tournament is scheduled to begin on May 24.
World number 10 Navarro, who was bidding for her first Masters 1000 series and second career title, fought hard in the first two sets in the final but appeared exhausted in the last set.
The Spaniard had defeated Romania’s Simona Halep in the semifinal, where she reached after beating two other top-10 players.
Navarro got off to a strong start and broke Sharapova midway through the first set.
The Russian broke eighth game of second set to grab 5-3 lead but Spaniard leveled the match after securing three break points in the next game.
However, Sharapova went on to claim the set with a two-handed backhand return.
The Russian served a breakpoint to Navarro in the opening game of third set and put her adversary in lead when a weak return by her went just wide.
Despite grabbing early lead, the Spaniard ran out of energy and as Sharapova held serve for 4-1 lead.
The Russian extended her lead to 5-1 after earning a double break point before holding serve on her last game to seal the title triumph.