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Porsche Tennis Grand Prix
Singles - Final: (2) Maria Sharapova def. (1) Victoria Azarenka 6-1 6-4
Maria Sharapova surely had to beat Victoria Azarenka someday. But who would have guessed it would come on clay? And this easily? Sharapova was never broken, and won almost 60% of the points. Although it may not mean much; Azarenka had her wrist worked by the trainer during the match.
It doesn't make any rankings difference -- yet. Azarenka remains #1 and Sharapova #2. And Sharapova's Rome title comes off a week from now. So she won't get to #1 unless she can do something to replace those points. But, with this win, she will be very close for at least a little while. It will give Azarenka a little to think about.
Then, too, Sharapova now has two very good clay titles in the last year -- Rome and Stuttgart. And she beat three Top Five players along the way: Stosur, Kvitova, and Azarenka. All of whom are pretty good on clay. If the WTA still gave out quality points, Sharapova would have earned 220 of them -- an extremely high total for a 32-draw event. Sharapova is the first player to earn that many quality points at a non-Slam or YEC since -- she earned 231 at Rome 2011. The last person to do it at a 32-draw event was Elena Dementieva at Sydney 2010 -- and, even then, she played five matches. We couldn't so much as find the last instance of someone earning 220 points in just four matches; all we can say is that it appears to be the first time since the WTA dropped quality points.
Ironically, it is faster surfaces that have been giving Sharapova relative trouble lately. Get that straightened out and maybe Azarenka -- who suffered only her second loss of the year -- will have some competition at the top.
Doubles - Final: (5) Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova def. Goerges/Groenefeld 6-4 7-5
No title for Julia Goerges this year after all. It may not even have been as close as the score; it took only an hour and twenty minutes. There were breaks all over the place, but Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova managed to hold a few times as well. Goerges/Groenefeld were broken six times.
This is the first title for Benesova/Zahlavova Strycova since Luxembourg 2011, so they were due. More: It is their first Premier title since Sydney 2011. They started the year rather feebly -- 8-8 in their first eight events. We were worried about their future. This should alleviate more doubts than just ours.