Sharapova, Nadal claim Indian Wells titles
Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal have claimed the women's and men's titles on Sunday at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Maria Sharapova beat Caroline Wozniacki 6-2 6-2 on Sunday to win her second Indian Wells WTA title in emphatic style.
Later in the day, Rafael Nadal defeated Juan Martin del Potro 4-6 6-3 6-4 on Sunday to win his third Indian Wells ATP Masters title.
Nadal cemented his return from a seven-month injury layoff with his first hardcourt title since 2010.
He came back in February to post a runner-up finish in Vina del Mar, followed by victories at Sao Paulo and Acapulco.
But none of those modest claycourt tournaments posed the challenge he faced at Indian Wells, where the field featured 49 of the top 50 players in the world.
Meanwhile, the 25-year-old Sharapova, already projected to supplant Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka from No.2 in the world rankings by reaching her first final of the season, broke Wozniacki twice in each set en route to the victory in one hour and 21 minutes.
The victory in a match between former champions gave her a second title to go with the Indian Wells crown she claimed in 2006.
It was Sharapova’s first trophy since her 2012 French Open triumph gave her a career grand slam, and stretched her streak of years with at least one title to 11.
“This is what I do all the work for is these moments,” a beaming Sharapova said. “You feel like everything has paid off.”
Sharapova put her foot on the gas early with a break in the first game and didn’t let up, firing winners off both wings and peppering Wozniacki with four aces.
“It’s the final,” she said. “You have to be on from the first point.”
She broke Wozniacki again in the seventh game, her only hiccup coming as she served for the set at 5-2 and made two errors to give Wozniacki a double break point.
Sharapova saved both with backhand winners, then sealed the set with an ace and a forehand winner.
The Russian opened the second set with another break, Wozniacki a bit unlucky with a double fault on break point as her second serve bounced off the net cord.
Wozniacki worked hard to extend the rallies, but she couldn’t penetrate Sharapova’s serve, her consultation with her coach in each set apparently giving her few new clues on how to do so.
Sharapova broke her again for a 5-2 lead, and served it out with a love game punctuated by a service winner on match point.
Wozniacki, a former world No.1 who owns 20 WTA titles – including an Indian Wells win in 2011 – has still never beaten a top-three player in a final.