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Sharapova topples Li for second straight Stuttgart crown

9:23 AM, Apr 28, 2013   |    comments
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Stuttgart, Germany (Sports Network) - Maria Sharapova captured her second straight title at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix with a straight-set win over Li Na in Sunday's final.

The top-seeded Sharapova notched a 6-4, 6-3 triumph for her second title of 2013 and her 29th career tournament victory. She won earlier this year at Indian Wells and became the first woman with consecutive Stuttgart titles since Lindsay Davenport in 2004-05.

Sharapova was appearing in her third straight WTA final, having lost to Serena Williams in Miami after the Indian Wells crown. She also avenged a loss to Li in the semifinals of the Australian Open and improved to 9-5 all-time against the Chinese star.

Li fell to 7-10 all-time in finals, including 1-2 this year. She won the season-opening Shenzhen Open for her seventh career title, then lost to Victoria Azarenka in the Aussie Open championship match.

Sharapova went the distance in each of her first three matches this week, but broke serve in the first game on Sunday and added a second break for a 4-1 lead. Li, who had not dropped a set entering the final, managed to break right back, but couldn't do so again.

The Russian star broke Li again for a 4-3 lead in the second set and the second seed had no answer.

Sharapova has won 16 straight matches on clay dating back to last year's title in Rome, where she also beat Li in the final. She went on to capture the French Open crown to complete the career Grand Slam.

Sunday's victory improved Sharapova's finals record to 29-20 and earned her a $130,000 first prize.

The Sports Network

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