Russia's Maria Sharapova sits on the Porsche Carrera after winning the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, on Sunday.
SECOND-RANKED Maria Sharapova cruised past top-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday to win the Porsche Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, for her first title of the year.
Sharapova lost the finals of the Australian Open and Indian Wells this year to Azarenka, and the Russian had never beaten her rival from Belarus in four previous encounters in a final.
"I am really pleased to win such a tough tournament, against such tough opponents," said Sharapova, before collecting the white sports car donated by the sponsor. "Victoria could not perform at her best because of her injury."
Azarenka, who fell to 29-2 this year but will keep the No. 1 spot, had her playing, right wrist taped after the first set. She was seeking her fifth title of the year. "I am disappointed to lose, but still I had a good week," Azarenka said.
Sharapova, a former No. 1, won her 25th career title, an honor roll that also includes three grand slam titles.
Sharapova made her debut this year in Stuttgart, a tournament played on indoor clay that brought together the eight top-ranked players.
The Russian needed 30 minutes to roll through the first set, ending it by firing and ace with her second serve. She broke serve for a 4-3 lead and closed out the match with a service winner. Sharapova is now 22-4 for the year.
"I came here mainly to warm up for the French Open, so it's been a good week," she said.
Elsewhere, Rafael Nadal became the first player in the Open Era to win two tournaments seven times after beating David Ferrer 7-6 (1), 7-5 in Sunday's Barcelona Open final.
The second-ranked Nadal's 21st straight victory on clay followed up his eighth straight win in Monte Carlo, as Nadal won the 10th all-Spanish ATP final for a 48th career win.
The sixth-ranked Ferrer lost his fourth Barcelona Open final to Nadal, who saved 12 of 15 break points for a 34th straight victory at Barcelona.
Nadal skipped toward the net in celebration after hitting a backhand winner on match point. The six-time French Open champion displayed his normal resilience and steady play to overcome Ferrer in a match marked by grinding rallies and spectacular shot making more reminiscent of a major final.
"This is the hardest match I had on clay court this season, David always takes you to the limit," Nadal said. "A bit of it was lottery, luck fell on my side today."