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Sharapova rallies to first Madrid title

ESPN staff
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Maria Sharapova had to come from a set down to win her first Madrid crown © Getty Images
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Maria Sharapova successfully secured back-to-back WTA titles after she defeated Simona Halep 1-6 6-2 6-3 to be crowned Madrid Open champion.

Sharapova came from a set down to beat Ana Ivanovic and claim the Stuttgart Open crown a fortnight ago and the former world No.1 had to repeat the same against the high-flying Halep.

Two early Sharapova errors gifted Halep an immediate break, which the Romanian secured despite an early scare on her own serve. Two double faults from Sharapova gave Halep a 3-0 lead, before she moved comfortably in control of the set with a glorious backhand to move four games to the good.

Yet more errors clouded Sharapova's game and Halep moved a set up within half an hour of the match start. Four-time major winner Sharapova needed to find a response.

She did just that with a stunning winner down the line to convert her first break point. However, Sharapova's serve was not up to standard and she eventually struggled to hold.

The pair traded games but Sharapova sealed the double break with a superb forehand. Halep's spirit was clearly dampened; she netted a return and with that Sharapova was level.

Halep, who had previously not lost a three-set match all year, held the opening game of the decider before Sharapova followed. However, the Romanian No.1 was forced into a loose backhand following a pulsating baseline exchange and Sharapova found the breakthrough.

A tight hold sealed her advantage and Sharapova moved further clear with a double break to make it 4-1. A brief flurry of errors gave Halep a way back, but she could not capitalise on Sharapova's mistakes.

Sharapova held comfortably before breaking serve in the next game to complete her maiden Madrid triumph.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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